Ten minutes.

That's how much time Sam would have before the Isaacson hive realized they had a breach. He lowered the volume on the radio he'd taken off the dead lookout. It would keep him aprised of what action they took to find him.

He pulled a baton off the lookout, then slid him into the storage closet and closed the door quietly.

The hallway was empty, going straight ahead 50 feet before shooting off in two different directions. Sammy headed left, to the edges of the building.

He had no real way of knowing where Martin was being held, but Isaacson would probably have him down below in a basement - just like Bud's unused set-up. Most stairwells were located on the outside perimeters.

Up ahead a door with an inset ,rectangular window marked the door he was looking for. Just before reaching it, a squat man in a business suit came out of an office, talking into his cellphone.

Sam held his breath. Ready to silence the guy when the moment came. Break the neck, return him to the office he'd come out of...Sam's fingers twitched.

The guy breezed right past him without a second look, still gabbing into his phone. 

Sam blinked. Okay...that wouldn't happen again. He moved forward - no time to chase the guy down. He started to doubt his decision to let the guy live.

Too late now. Sam checked the office. No one else was there. Downstairs.

Sam pushed the door open and entered the stairwell. There he wedged the baton in the door's long handle and counterbalanced it against the door frame.

He drew his H&K 9mm for this job. Less kick, better accuracy. This is where things got hairy. 

The stairwell was enclosed. He met no one on the way down. At the bottom, he found three Hires chatting outside a series of jail cells. Sam flicked off the safety, chanced one more glance out, then moved forward.

The first Hire went down before the second one realized he'd been shot, too.  The third guy pulled his weapon too late.

The discharges echoed ridiculously loud in the concrete underground. Sammy winced at the sound. It had been a long time since he'd fired a weapon without wearing range earmuffs.

At the end of the cell row, a pair of hands poked through the bars. One hand was bandaged and missing a finger. "What the hell is going on out there?"

The radio in Sam's hand crackled. "Shots fired in Level One. All Hires, Class A respond immediately."

Sam ran to the dead Hires, knelt, and pilfered their weapons. He slid each firearm down towards Martin's cell. "Quiet time, Marty," he called out. "Let me get you out of there first."

"Holy -" Martin pressed his face to the bars. "Sammy? You shouldn' t be here. You're starting a war."

"Isaacson started a war when he took you and Moira. But if you wanna get technical, you started it with the Feds."

"Jesus, Sam. Now this is a real war. This won't end good for any of us."

"But it will end. Whoever's left standing wins. I plan on that being us. Now shut up, already. God, you've always been so whiny." Sam found a set of keys and tore them off the owner.

Upstairs he could hear the reinforcements pounding the floor. There had to be another entrance though. He could see a door at the other end of the cell row.

"Well, hurry up or you'll be joining me in here." Martin squatted and stretched his hand out for one of the Hire's guns. He managed to grab one, checked the magazine and took off the safety.

Sam found the right key right before hearing the distinctive crack of the baton-barrier giving way.  A thunder of footsteps filled the stairwell.

He jiggled the key in Martin's cell door. "Come on," he repeated. 

At last it gave. He wrenched the door open. Looked right into his brother's face.

Martin had gained a few more lines around his mouth and eyes since last they'd seen each other. He also sported one nasty head gash at his left temple. God, he was so thin. Were they starving him, too?

"Get down," Martin yelled practically in his face.

Sam hit the pavement, spinning around to cover any threat. Martin fired double taps at the two Hires that had spilled out of the stairwell. They fell as quickly as they'd come.

"Nice work." Sam collected the two other  weapons. "Now let's see if you can keep doing that until we get out of here."


The End

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