Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer

Claire cleared the fire-doors just moments before they sealed the lab. She knew they would hold for a while, but still ran down the corridor dragging the unconscious Doctor behind her. He out-massed her by a wide margin, but she severely outmuscled him.

The outer doors irised out of their way, and she dragged the Doctor to a clear space on the floor. There was no time for niceties. Without hesitation she drove a large catheter into the Femoral artery in his thigh, leaving the unsecured end to spasm as blood pumped through it onto the floor.

She tore through the supply cabinets and returned with a cryogel pack and injector, which she hurriedly assembled and drove through his chest and into his heart. The gel pack flooded his vital organs with its oxygen rich preservative while Claire counted the agonizing minutes, his life pooling on the floor, sticky about her feet.

When she was sure the bleeding had stopped, she set to with a scalpel, quickly removing every appendage that was too big to fit into a cryocan. When she was finished, the Doctor had been reduced to a head and torso, limbs cut clean revealing the pink sponge-like gel that had replaced all his bodily fluid.

Outside she could hear heavy equipment at the fire-doors. They’d be through in a matter of minutes and could not be allowed to capture her. What she knew they would extract bit by bit, cell by data saturated cell until not even the one with her name on it remained intact.

She hoisted the Doctor from the floor, abandoning the off-cut pieces and carried him to the reactor anti-chamber. She retrieved a cryocan from the lab and hurriedly stuffed him inside. Slipping the wiring harness into place and pushing the steel pickups in through unfeeling flesh she paused, bent, and kissed his cooling lips.

She sealed the canister and hoisted it over the railing, leapt gazelle-like after it and bending nearly double, at a run pushed the canister across the safety apron and launched it into the pool of coolant. She watched for a moment to be sure it sank before sprinting back across the steel floor, hurdling the railing and hurtling back through the lab, opening valves and spilling large containers of chemicals. Corrosives splashed at her skin, but she ignored her burning flesh, focused instead on priming an explosive cocktail in the tightly enclosed room.

Satisfied that there would be no evidence left behind, she dropped into a chair and jacked a fibre cable through the pickup in her ear.

“Claire. Emergency upload protocol. Tango Romeo Uniform Sierra Tango.”

A voice in her head responded, “Charlie Lima Alpha bio acknowledged. Outbound transmissions offline.”

“Override. Nuclear environmental reporting channel. Possible burn-through.”

“Override engaged. Nuclear EV channel online. Destination EPA.”

“Override. Destination random. Public internet cafe. Sweden.”

“Override engaged. Upload commencing.”

Claire felt her life siphoning from her physical self and flood out onto the network, and as she became less aware of the burning of her flesh, she became instantly aware of the Special Ops forces breaching the outer fire door, of the agents surrounding the complex, and of the intense fireball that erupted from the lab, vapourizing the recent incarnation of Claire in flesh and the scraps of the Doctor she’d scattered on the floor.

As she poured from the back channel out on the nets into Sweden, she hoped she could highjack a body at least as capable as the one she’d abandoned. She was going to need something special to get her Doctor back.

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