The wall explodes with enough force to annihilate a blue whale, and Eli and Dora stumble out of the warehouse and onto the streets of Eltore City. The people still alive after the blast run for cover, pushing each other out of the way to be the first ones to safety. Eli shoots back toward the flaming, gaping hole, and a synthesized scream tells him that something was hit.

Dora makes it to the car before Eli, who stops again to shoot into the burning building. When Eli makes it to the car the last thing they see is a pack of cyborgs walking though the fire, with their blue eyes gazing up at the ascending vehicle.

“Those fucking toasters blew up the chip before I could grab it! What the fuck do we do now Eli!?” Dora yells, tossing her crimson and black hair away from her face.

“What else can we do but go to the second drop point?” Eli says. “Shit is I already used the last of the explosives to get out of that place, and you and I both know those toasters already warned the others about us.” Suddenly the billboards all around them begin to flicker from commercials to a repeating photo of the both of them.

“Fuck me!” Dora screams, flattening her foot against the pedal to try and outrun the changing billboards.

“Dora we have a tail,” Eli says as a police car flashes behind them. “I think I might have an E.M.P left.”

“No leave it, I have an idea.” The look on Dora’s face unsettles Eli.—He buckles up just in case. She pushes the wheel forward, making them plummet. The police car follows, and Dora lifts up at the last moment; so does the police car. They weave around other vehicles and lampposts, and so does their tail. The chrome body of the police car glimmers inches away from them when they turn onto St. Malika Ave. and all of her advertisements.

A robotic voice yells to them from the police car, “Please pull your vehicle over citizen. You have broken the law and must be destroyed. If you fail to do so you will be destroyed.”

“Not too much to choose from, eh?” Eli laughs, but Dora focuses on the wall of buildings surrounding them.

“Noncompliance, must destroy,” the police car calls out.

“Bring it on baby.” Dora tightens her grip on the steering wheel. Eli looks scared for his life.

Ahead of them the buildings hum menacingly and suddenly erupt with lighting which forms into an electric spider web. Anyone else would have cried but Dora laughs in triumph. Nothing will stop her.

“Dora, their tracking systems can detect which way you’re going to turn the wheel. It won’t work,” Eli says bracing himself.

At the last moment before hitting the web, Dora pulls the wheel toward her and at the same time pushes the steering column away, while separating the two with her foot and making the car plummet again. The police car turns up a-little-to-late and plows into the electric web, but the pair’s joy is short-lived as the ground gets closer and with an almighty crash they land.

From out of the wreck their bleeding bodies emerge. Eli helps Dora stagger to the nearest wall, where they crumble to the floor in agony. She holds her head to stop the bleeding, and he gingerly rubs his ribs. Eli looks over at Dora, her almond eyes are closed and her fair skin is torn and bruised.

“Edvin better be right about this chip. I don’t even fucking know what it does to be honest.” Eli cringes with every word he speaks.

Dora’s voice quivers, “It’ll stop the bastards from taking over. That’s why they guard it so well. Fuck Eli, look at us, we can barely walk and we already fucked up on the less secure of the buildings. How in the fuck are we going to make it into the next one?”

Eli doesn’t respond to her. He just gets up, lifts her, and together they painfully jog two blocks of empty streets. The machines have already made everyone go indoors, leaving them without camouflage.

The Lotus building, a beautiful Japanese botanical garden, is guarded by what looks like ten machines armed to the teeth, all of them watching a billboard of Eli and Dora making the police car crash into the electric web. For every loop of the video, their eyes get progressively redder, almost as if it angers them.

They sneak around the machines, climb the wall, and drag themselves across the lawns to the maintenance shed. The door behind them closes just as a machine goes by. Carefully, Dora pokes and prods at all of the tools in the shed while Eli keeps an ear on the door. After pulling on a rake, the workbench splits open to reveal a vertical drop.

“Goddamn it,” Eli whispers, walking over to the opening. Small orange light bulbs caged in iron flicker down the chute, making a sort of ladder.

“Remember Eli, three points of contact at all times to distribute the weight,” Dora says, climbing first into the pipe. The climb grinds Eli’s broken ribs together, and more than once he nearly loses his footing.

After fifteen solid minutes of descent they begin to hear whizzing noises, and after a bit more of descending the space opens up to a vast underground building sight, run entirely by machines. But before they can look around any further Dora spots a closet-sized pod racing up toward them.

With their only other option being a fall to their deaths, they let go of the lights and drop onto the pod, and hold onto each other tightly as it races back up the chute. The trip only lasts seconds, and Eli, being taller, smacks his head against the roof of the shed with a loud clang. From under them, a cyborg walks out of the pod and exits the shed. Eli jumps down and helps Dora off the pod which they get into just before it drops back down the chute. The flickering yellow lights stream over their faces until they’re back in the vast build site.

“What the hell are they building? They look like giant robots,” Dora says, pressing her face against the glass that circles the pod. “Look at them all Eli.”

“As long as we get that chip then we won’t have to worry about them,” Eli says.

The pod comes to a stop and Dora takes out her gun. “Get ready,” she says.

“I don’t have mine, it got smashed along with the car,” Eli says angrily.

“Stay behind me then.”

They exit the pod and scoot along the walls, passing brainless machines at work on different components of the giant robots. Coming to a door, Eli drops down to peek under it while Dora keeps an eye out. The other side proves clear, so Eli bashes the knob off and they huddle into a stair well.

“Lotus building, was what blueprint ‘C’ or ‘E?’” asks Eli, taking out a fistful of paper slips from his pocket.

“It’s ‘C.’ ‘E’ was the one we blew up,” Dora says, checking the stairs. “I liked it better when these fuckers were defeated by a simple staircase.”

“I know what you mean. Ok, print ‘C’ says we have to go up to the top.”

“You mean to the entrance, where we were to begin with!? Guess you can say we’ve gone full circle,” Dora laughs to herself.

“I can, but I’m not. Let’s go.” Eli begins the climb up the stairs while looking the blueprint over.

Finally at the top, they catch their breaths as Eli again checks the other side of the door for machines. Slowly, they make their way into what used to be a dining hall, but all the tables and chairs were moved out to make room for the cooling and filtration systems that keep the chip in good condition. Eli walks straight to it, while Dora phones in that they have the chip.

Eli takes out an anti-static box and slips on a pair of gloves. He then slowly picks up the chip and places it in the box, and gives Dora a rare smile as she talks to the station.

“Control Station Alpha, we have the goods. Pickup at blueprint ‘C’ needed. Repeat, chip in hand and requesting a pick up from the Lotus building. We got the bastards.” Dora smiles back and adds a wink. In seconds a helicopter is heard making its way toward them; they both sigh.

Once again their joy is short lived, as the door to the chip room crashes open and a pack of machines burst inside. Red eyes immediately fix on the pair. Dora lets off four quick rounds into the first two machines through the door. Eli hops around and bashes the third one with a pipe, sending sparks out the back of its head.

“The window, now!” Dora yells, and they both make a run for it, but one of the machines blasts Eli in the leg and he goes down.

“Aahh! You shit!” Eli shouts and swings his pipe against its head, making the machine spin and shoot a few of its own. Eli scurries toward it and aims the machine’s arm at the door, ready for the next wave. “Give me the gun Dora, and take the box.”

“No Eli-”

“Give me the fucking gun!” he yells at her, eyes wide.

She tosses him the gun, takes the box, and jumps out the widow. The last thing Dora sees is Eli taking down a cyborg with a headshot; they’re sending in the big guns now. She lands in a small bush, picks herself up, and pulls on a strap at her arm. Her whole jacket glows a bright radiant orange. The helicopter is hovering feet off the lawn as Control Alpha troops shoot down any machines in sight. Dora makes it to them and jumps inside.

“Report!” yells a woman holding an assault rifle.

“We got the chip. They are building giant fucking robots four floors down, and Eli is still in there,” Dora pants.

“Hand it over so we can take it to Lt. Edvin.”

“We need to get Eli.”

“Solider Evans is not important,” the woman scolds.

“Then give me a fucking gun and ten minutes or I’ll take this shit back!” Dora yells, holding the box to her glowing chest. A masked solider points his gun at her, but the woman motions for him to lower his weapon. “Five minutes,” she says, and hands Dora her rifle. Dora takes it and hands her the box, jumps off, and runs back toward the building.

The woman yells to the pilot, “Take us home.”

“Yes ma’am”

“Phone!” the masked solider says and hands the woman a phone.

“We have the chip, ten seconds to initiate code 553.” she says into it as the helicopter speeds away.

Miles above the Lotus building where Dora and Eli still fight, a warhead falls silently.

Mission Complete…


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