“Well, which button is it, smarty-pants? We don’t exactly have all day!” Tracer growled.
“Uh, how about this big red one that says ‘Emergency Floodgate Shutoff’?” answered Gator, pointing at the most prominent button on the board.
Without the grace of a retort, Tracer headed back down the long panel. Sure enough, the displays surrounding the area indicated pressure, temperature, and output of all the water entering the main waterways, as well as the floodgates keeping the water out of the mines. “Makes sense,” Tracer granted. “Just make sure you’re not trapping or exploding anything.”
“Right,” said Gator, checking the readings and adjusting the dials to flood the tunnels. Tracer turned back to the screen. The news broadcast had finally gotten to the event, whatever it was, and the host had the audience out of their seats cheering. One camera faced out into a huge arena with a tiny figure chained up in the middle.
“Did you hear about any ceremonies this week, Gator?” he asked, still staring at the screen. Without waiting for a reply, he sent the image to the massive screen at the other end of the security room. The lens seemed to have dust on it. Or maybe it was out of focus. Either way, they couldn’t see the prisoner clearly. But Tracer had a bad feeling.
“Wait a minute…is that?” asked Gator. The person looked straight at them.
“No! I knew we were in the wrong place!” seethed Tracer, shaking with rage. He cursed profusely, wings pulsing deep red, blue, and yellow, and threw a chair over the balcony into the security room below with a raw, guttural yell. Several computers crashed to the floor, sizzling from the impact.
Gator fell back into the remaining chair and dropped his head. He covered his eyes, shaking. Neither of them moved for about ten seconds. Eyes watering, Gator stood up and flipped up the glass cover on the big red button and whispered, voice cracking, “Tracer, we have to help the others.”
“We can’t just leave her there! You know what this is. It’s an execution! They’ll kill her!” Tracer thundered.
“Dang it, Tracer, I know that! But there’s no way we can get to her, much less in time!” retorted Gator. “You really think that we don’t care about Emma? Huh? She’s our friend, too, you know!” he shouted. Tracer stood smoldering, his knuckles whitening. “But there’s nothing we can do about it,” Gator persisted. “Right now, our job is to help the ones we can. Emmaline gave us this mission. Falcon, Raven, Kael, and Wayk need us here to help get that done. Now, are you with me or not?” he demanded.
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