As long as I live I hope to never have to see that look on her face again. On any of their faces once they came to understand what we found. Bastards. May they all rot in hell ... after spending time in "purgatory" themselves.
We came in behind the Outsiders who were fighting those in Administration only to discover they were not making any real headway. Then there was a lull as they regrouped and we could see the dead from both sides piled up at the barricaded entrance to that wing. I didn't want to do it. Hated doing it but she was the only one that could because the ventilation shafts and conduits in the wing were newer and therefore smaller diameter. Plus she knew them well and could travel them quickly and silently.
"Georgie I need to know what is going on in there. I need to know how many they still have and what kind of weapons they have at their disposal. I don't want to take down the Outsiders only to be taken out by the Director's people."
She didn't even hesitate only asked, "Can someone boost me up?"
Peterson did it. I was afraid if I tried to lift her I'd wind up making her stay and waste time trying to find another way to get what we needed which probably wouldn't work as well or as efficiently. Damned if I know what it is about these kids - and her in particular - but they worm their way into you and watching them suffer is like being tore up in battle. I can't explain it.
It was nerve-wracking for all of us to wait on Georgie's recon. Hell, even Tracey was showing signs of worry and care. I had to shut Peterson down because I could tell he really wanted to rub it in. In hindsight it is a good thing for Peterson that I did. He's already got enough squirrels in the attic that like to chew on him.
The battle heated back up and I worried about bullets going into the ceiling. Good thing the girl kept her head but she scared the hell out of me popping out of the vent on the wall. She yelped and ducked back in when she saw all the guns suddenly swinging in her direction. Lucky for her none of us are so green that we shoot before we know what we're shooting at.
"Dammit Georgie! Get out here now."
Georgie didn't take umbrage at his angry tone. She realized immediately that she shouldn't have scared them like that; she simply hadn't thought, only wanted to get away from the bullets that were puncturing the ceiling tiles. "There's only five men on the other side of the door. Then there's three more in ... in front of the door that goes down to Lockdown. The ones in front of Lockdown were talking on a radio but there was too much noise for me to hear what was being said and they were faced away from me so I couldn't read their lips. But it wasn't the guys at the door they were talking to because they didn't have a radio."
Peterson shook his head. "You mean they've got themselves blocked in that basement area you say is the Lock down?"
Johnson said, "Bad strategy ... unless they've got something down there more valuable than their good sense. Only one way in and out and an inferior force protecting it. They should have taken the kids and made their way beyond the fighting. Something isn't adding up."
Georgie just listened but allowed a small hope to start building. What if the rest of them, all the rest of them from all the years, were down there. "That's where they have us. It has to be. And it's where they keep the blood collecting machines and coolers. Is that valuable enough?"
Johnson, Peterson, and the other soldiers looked at each other. The likelihood of one or more of the children getting hurt was going up exponentially.
Tracey was the one that brought it up first. "If the Director doesn't win this, I hear he is vicious enough to kill the kids just to bring hell down on everyone else that stood against him."
At Georgie's alarmed look she added, "Look, ain't bringing me no joy either. It's one of the reasons I just wanted out; the writing has been on the wall for anyone to read if they hadn't been living in la-la land. But I won't back out of helping at this stage. You just gotta be realistic girl. What you are looking at is war. Depending on who wins will tell who leaves the battlefield alive."
None of the others contradicted her. Georgie felt like crying but she didn't. There had been lots of times she'd had to cry at a friend dying or leaving but then she hadn't been able to help stop it. This time she did.
"Give me one of those things ... the ones that explode.
Despite having a feeling he already knew the answer, Johnson looked at her and asked, "And why do you want a grenade?"
"Because as soon as you take down the Outsiders I am going to drop it on the Director's people on the other side of the door."
Peterson nodded and added, "Then we come through and control the situation before things can get out of hand."
Johnson growled, "Don't encourage her."
"Ain't encouraging her LT, just I can't see it having to go any other way."
Finally Johnson nodded once again in control, "I can't either. Here Brat, and if you blow something off I am going to paddle your behind so hard you won't be able to sit down for a week."
Georgie took the grenade after receiving quick instructions on how to safely detonate it and then grabbed Johnson's sleeve. "I'm not a little kid. I'm doing this of my own free will. You aren't making me. No one is."
"Yeah, yeah Brat," Johnson said, feeling like he was stuck in one of his nightmares. "Just pay attention or prepare to get your seat warmed."
Georgie just shook her head and said, "Yeah, yeah" back to him before scurrying into the wall like the mouse that Johnson sometimes compared her to.