Here’s another fiction fragment for your enjoyment. A continuation of the “new bits” storyline. (Start from part 1 HERE, if you’d like.)
“What the hell, Jules?” I said moving my jaw back and forth with my hand. I pulled away bloody fingers and asked, “I’m sorry. Did I get any blood on your boot?”
She glanced down at her left foot, the one that had just popped me in the mouth.
“No. Count yourself lucky.”
“Fuck me. Can we get to Egress so we can get to work?” I asked, motioning toward the door in what I hoped was a non-threatening way with my left hand. Last thing I wanted to do was poke the bear. I managed to do that enough without trying.
She beat me to the door. “Come on, jackass.”
I followed, this time leaving a good six feet between us.
A couple of turns later, we reached the door-wide doors labeled “Egress.”
I had, when I first joined the Division, why it was called Egress when people came in that way, as well. After the eye-rolling stopped, I was told that the first sets of agents weren’t really sure what was going to happen on any given mission, or if they were even going to return, so took to calling it the Egress, since “Ingress” wasn’t guaranteed.
I thought it was stupid, but whatever. Egress was just the room, the location, anyway. Stepping inside Egress, I caught sight of the real magic in the room. It was impressive: impressively….. bland.
The room itself was decidedly plain: plain white walls, white ceiling tiles, polished white tile floor….
And it wasn’t physically impressive, either. I never could get over how small the thing actually was. Maybe twenty by thirty, it sounds big, sure, but not really. The doors we’d just entered were on the short side, and the other three walls were lined with similar-looking, single-wide sliding doors, ten on each long wall and six on the short wall opposite.
A few steps inside the room was a “U” shaped control panel, perhaps five foot on the three sides, manned by two technicians in matching Division technical uniforms: red utility jumpsuits with white shoulders.
They looked like nurses to me, but if and of the Division ghost stories I’d heard when I first got here were even remotely true, that was probably a good thing.
As we entered, one of the techs—Agent Brie, I think—turned to see who it was. “Agent Salazar. Agent Simmons.,” she said. “Trying to beat the rush?”
“You know it. You get our hash, already?” Jules held up her tablet as if to hand it to her.
“Yep,” the other tech—Williams—said over his shoulder. “Just spinning up the TDs now. Been awhile since we needed all twenty-six online at once. Pre-shift diags are almost done.”
“Where do you want us?” I asked.
Brie turned back to the console, checking the displays on her side and pointing at a couple of indicators on Williams’ side.
“I think we’ll want you in eighteen and nineteen. They should be ready to go first.”
We moved to our doors, which slid open at our approach. I entered a small room, about the size of a dressing room with another door opposite mine, and changed into the clothing I found there: blue jeans, black t-shirt, and sturdy work-boots. I hung my grey Division uniform up and pocketed my weapon and comm unit.
“You guys ready?” came Williams’ voice.
“I’m good,” I said, facing the second door.
“Let’s go,” I heard Jules say over the intercom.
The lights in the room dimmed, and the door slid open, leaving behind a pale, translucent, shimmering ghost of itself.
“Good luck, Agents,” Brie said as I stepped forward.
A moment’s hesitation, like walking through a stiff wind, and the light returned. I spun to see what was left of the door I had just passed through fade from the physical doorway that stood before me.