Title: Exit Speed
Sequel to: The Pyramid
Universe: OFFICIAL Cave Series
Characters: Chloe Sullivan, Sam Winchester, Maudie, Desmond, Yarbro & others
Disclaimer: Don't own
Summary: Chloe had only wanted time to herself without so many people who loved her worrying over her constantly. What she got instead was being stranded along with other passengers of her bus, a murderous biker gang, and Sam Winchester.
A/N: some information mentioned here was found on www.sptimes.com
Chloe groaned, feeling groggy as she forced her heavy eyelids open at the sound of that soft voice. "Annabel?"
The young woman with the blue streaks through her messy hair and thick kohl around her eyes leaned over her. "Are you okay? You were gone for a while and I got worried."
"Yeah, I'm fine." Chloe tried flexing her hand and moving her muscles tentatively. Other than a little sore she was okay, which was great. She felt a little different though, and she didn't know why. It worried her. "How's everything out there?"
"Coach is sulking, and Sam has everyone on watch." Annabel was bent to her knees. "I need to show you something."
"What is it?" Chloe sat up, frowning.
Annabel just held out her hand. "I need to show
Accepting the hand and the help up, Chloe followed the dark haired girl out of the shed and towards one of the other buildings.
"I discovered this while looking around." Annabel announced, motioning to a trap door on the top of the ceiling. She crawled up some shaky looking stacked boxes and flung the trap door open silently before crawling up out of sight.
Chloe joined her up and found herself on top of the roof of the building. It looked like they'd been planning on building a second story but had left the place before any real construction could be made. Only thing up there was a little of a wall that had been started. "Keep down."
Annabel nodded, both crouched as they made their way to the far edge, kneeling down behind the half started wall and peering over it. "Look." She pointed to where the gang were by the larger shed outside of the barrier, and some little distance away. They were hanging up something from the rafters. "We have a good view of them from here. We could keep an eye on them without them knowing."
Chloe's gaze narrowed in the darkness before she shifted them slightly, enough for her to make out more. "There were more before."
Annabel nodded before pointing somewhere else. "Do you see those old refrigerators? There's going to be another one there."
Chloe had to agree, though she was curious as to how Annabel had guessed. "How do you know?"
"Because that's where I
would be." The girl explained. "They've got good cover, could open fire on our barricade and half of the yard."
She was right.
Chloe turned to look at her, impressed. "Are you a hunter or something?"
Annabel cleared her throat, obviously uncomfortable. "I'm a twelfth tier dark elf ranger."
Chloe blinked. "Excuse me?"
The younger female cleared her throat once more. "You know video game conventions, stuff like that?"
Chloe blinked, finally understanding the girl's clothes. "You mean where people dress up and pretend to be a part of their favorite video games, right?"
Annabel sighed. "Something like that." She cleared her throat. "I was actually on my way to California for a dark elf archery competition."
"So you have your bow and arrows here?" Chloe frowned, not understanding why this hadn't been mentioned before.
They'd had more weapons than they'd thought.
"It's back on the bus with the rest of the luggage."
"And you're a tournament rated dark elf." Chloe's eyes narrowed, her mind already working rapidly, giving a look at the unsuspecting gang members below before looking back at a now horrified Annabel.
"I shoot at targets
. Not at people
"They're going to be shooting at you
." Chloe needed her to understand this. "This isn't a tournament anymore, Annabel. This is life and death. The nicest thing these people will do to you is kill you on sight." She paused. "But you're pretty, and I doubt they'll do that. They'll want to keep you and the other women alive for a while."
Annabel went paler at the implication.
"So, don't think of them as humans, because they're not." Chloe tried to put this in a way that Annabel might be able to relate, and her mind went immediately to the Lord of the Rings movies Lois had made her watch so they could perve on the hot guys. "They're not men, they're orcs."
Annabel looked up at the comparison.
"Come on." Chloe nodded for the girl to follow her as she made her way slowly back.
After a second's hesitation, Annabel did just that.
Chloe lowered herself down the trap door and was surprised to find people waiting down below. Obviously they'd seen her and Annabel come in here and had followed, and were waiting on them.
"What did you see?" Sam asked, coming into the room with Desmond at his side.
Maudie came towards her as Annavel slipped down by Chloe's side. "Were you able to see them? How many were there?"
Chloe sighed. "I counted thirteen, but there were a couple I really couldn't see so I'm thinking around eighteen."
Annabel nodded her agreement.
"Where were they?" Sam wanted to know, motioning to the table in the room. "Can you show us?"
Chloe motioned for Annabel to go ahead.
The girl nodded and went to the table, picking up a can. "Let's say this is us." She put it down before picking up some nails. "The majority are here at their barn, hanging up chains from the rafters-which doesn't bode well at all." She put down most of the nails by the fork designated as the enemies' barn. "We'll call them Dasher, Dancer and Prancer, they're over here by this barn." She positioned the rest of the nails as to where their human counterparts were. "Vixen's by that pile of fridges out there. Um, Comet, Donner and there here covering the gate between here and the office is Blitzen."
"You skipped one." Coach announced as he noticed the nail remaining in Annabel's hand, seeming calm and yet ignoring Chloe's presence.
She quite liked it that way.
"Cupid." Maudie frowned. "He'd be the one that went for reinforcement."
"I'm surprised they haven't tried to burn us out." Sam admitted, frowning as he looked down at the table.
"They're afraid to." Coach Yarbro answered. "Fires can be seen a long way off."
"No." Desiree shook her head from where she was leaning against the wall. "They're waiting for the rest of the pack to arrive." She looked up at them. "They're gonna wanna share us."
Annabel went pale, looking at Chloe, probably remembering their conversation on the roof. "How do you know so much about Nomads and stuff?"
"I dated a biker for a while." Desiree admitted as she came towards the table. "He said crews like this, Nomads, they're like locusts. Most of them are permanently wired on crystal meth. They nest in an area for a while. They strip it for whatever they need: food, fuel, money...women. And then they move on."
Both Annabel and Maudie were beginning to look queasy.
"But my boyfriend, he did some pretty hardcore things and didn't break a sweat. He was scared of nothing." Desiree eyed them all intensely. "But these Nomads? They scared the shit out of him."
"So we play defense until help comes." Coach decided. "We run up their clock."
Chloe began playing around with her watch, eyeing the flickering light with a sigh.
"Yeah, I mean, someone's gotta come looking for us sooner or later, right?" Annabel was eager to believe this theory.
"No." Maudie shook her head, pulling out the bus' itinerary from her handbag which despite everything had never left her side. She probably found some comfort in having it with her. "Our next stop was supposed to be Picadillo Texas, and-."
"Well, if we don't check in they're going to come looking for us." Coach interrupted. "We can hold out that long."
"Will you just listen to me for a second?" Maudie tried again.
"We won't hold two minutes if they try and rush this place." Sam interrupted, eyes on Coach.
Coach sneered at him. "You prefer the bus? Because that worked out so well
for the College Chick and Mister Shampoo Man!"
"Hey!" Desire snapped. "You're the reason we're on this road, Coach."
He turned to her, furious. "We can hold!"
"Will you just shut the fuck up
?" Maudie snapped, causing everyone to look at her in surprise.
Even Chloe looked up from where she'd been playing with her damaged watch.
"Sorry." Sam cleared his throat. "You were saying something?"
"Pardon my language." Maudie looked around them. "But Picadillo wasn't an official stop. If we don't show up there they'll just think we stopped somewhere else for gas and food. Our next official stop is El Paso. That's three hundred miles further."
"What does that mean?" Annabel looked around for answers.
Chloe's gaze returned to her watch as she fiddled with it. "It means they won't know we're missing until approximately six hours from now."
"Yeah, and by then Mr. Cupid will be back with every freak biker in the state." Maudie agreed, folding back up the itineracy.
"What do we do?" Annabel asked, nerves obvious in the shaking of her voice. "We're going to die."
Chloe cleared her throat. "I have some good news and bad news to add to this."
Sam frowned as he turned to look at her. "What do you mean?"
The blonde sighed, feeling very uncomfortable right now. "The good news is that someone out there does know we're in distress, or, well, that I
am in distress."
Everyone turned to look at her.
"What? How?" Maudie wanted to know. "None of the cellulars are working! How could you have gotten out a distress signal to someone?"
"I didn't. Not exactly." Chloe leaned against the wall and looked up at the ceiling. "My body did."
"What crock are you saying?" Coach snapped.
"I'm saying that when you feel fear or danger, your body does certain things." Chloe scratched her cheek. "Your amygdala is the body's central alarm system, right? So when a threat is perceived it lets us act almost instantaneously. The reaction begins with a sensory stimulus, like a scare or something, and then information is captured by our senses and routed first to the Thalmus, and the Thalmus then sends an immediate signal to the amygdala. The Thalmus also sends a message to the appropriate Sensory Cortex, where the stimulus is evaluated. If there is a threat, the amygdala is informed again and puts the body on red alert."
"We don't have all fucking day." Coach snapped. "What's your goddamned point with the biology lesson?"
"I don't have time to stupid it down
for you." Chloe snapped. "When you're scared, your heart pumps faster and harder, you generate more heat and begin to sweat. Your blood pressure rises and blood drains from capillaries near the skin's surface. You stomach empties and the digestive system stops. Your muscles get more glucose so the body can have more energy, and also more blood is drained from other areas of your body and pumped into the muscles and other vitals organs, preparing them for action." The blonde took in a deep breath, running her fingers through her hair. "I have a chip inserted inside of my body that not only picks up on the changes in my body whenever I'm hurt or afraid or in danger, but it sends out a distress signal to the Main Computer and gives my exact location to my employers so I can be speedily found and given assistance if needed."
There was silence.
"Where do you work?" Desiree wanted to know. "The Pentagon
"You all can't actually believe this crap!" Yarbro snapped, motioning towards the blonde. "Look at her! She's barely a kid! Probably still a teenager! There's no way any of what she's saying is true!"
"You don't have to believe it." Chloe shrugged, a little resentful of the fact that people apparently still thought she was a teenager.
It was annoying.
She was an adult
for fucks sake.
"Are you telling us the truth?" Sam asked Chloe slowly.
She looked up at him and nodded.
"Then I believe you." He announced.
"What's the bad news?" Maudie asked.
"I can't believe you fucking idiots." Yarbro snapped as he stormed out of the place.
Chloe felt better already as she lifted her wrist, showing her watch. "This is my transmitter, it's what sends the signal, and it's been damaged in all the hustle and bustle. I mean, it's still working...kinda. I mean, it's transmitting, but not very strong, and it keeps dying every couple of minutes before rebooting. Its going to be hard for my people to be able to triangulate where I am. It might take them a while. I'm not sure when the transmitter started to malfunction or how long until it dies out completely."
"Oh boy." Desiree took in a deep breath. "What does that mean? What do we do?"
"I don't know." Chloe admitted. "We could stay here and try hold those bikers off-but we don't know how long it will take my people to find us. Those bikers could be here and have used our bones as toothpicks before they arrived. Or we could try and make a break for it, but we only have one gun-Yarbro's doesn't count-and a bow with some arrows to count as weapons. Also, leaving, we don't have the advantage of having some little barrier between us and them."
"This isn't much of a barrier." Sam had to confess. "If they really want, they can break this down easily."
"I know." Chloe agreed. "But mentally, the thought of having any sort of barrier between them and us has helped these people survive and hope. If we take them out there they'll panic easier."
"We're sitting ducks in here."
"We're sitting ducks out there as well." She countered.
Maudie sat down.
So did Annabel.
Desire just leaned back against the wall. "So what's the plan? Do we stay here and hold like Coach says, or do we take the risk and try to run for it? What do we do?"
Chloe was distracted by the feeling of heat seeping in her ribs, her spine feeling tingly.
"Well?" Maudie asked.
"I can't tell you what we're going to do. Neither can Sam. Nor Coach-no matter how hard he tries." Chloe finally answered. "Because it's not something like money on the line here. It's everybody's lives that are at risk. This has to be decided by everyone."
"She's right." Sam agreed. "We need to have a meeting and discuss this with everyone, and then have a vote."
Chloe took in a deep breath. "But whatever we do, we have to do it soon." She pushed away from the wall. "Cupid will probably be back with the rest of the reindeer very soon and we need to be ready for when that happens."
The woman shared nervous looks.