Photo by Liz Weddon on Unsplash

Clarke smashed the vent grating open and tumbled into an empty locker room like a sack of potatoes.

The sirens started to blare, Clarke checked his watch, “Three minutes,” he gasped. “I thought we had more time than that.”

“Things go wrong, you know that Clarke, do you have the package?” the voice in his ear piece buzzed.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Clarke grabbed one of the red dented lockers and hauled himself to his feet, making sure the fist sized container he had just stolen was still nestled under his arm. “I’ve got other issues though, I must have taken a wrong turn and I’m in some kind of locker room.”

“So . . .” the voice buzzed, “Improvise?”

Clarke sighed, “Next time I get to sit in the chair.”

He spent a harried few minutes checking the lockers that weren’t locked, and stumbled upon a leather jacket in a locker with a nameplate that read “Jackson”. Clarke quickly threw the jacket on over his black fatigues, shoved the package in an inside pocket, and pushed out of the locker room.

A guard trundled by hurriedly, “Hey man, what’s going on?” Clarke asked with feigned concern.

“Some mad man stole the Ultra Virus!” the guard barked as he sprinted down the corridor, “Everyone’s evacuating get to the exit now!” the guard then squawked into his radio. “Heading to the ventilation nexus, I’ll head him off!”

“Oh no, the Ultra Virus!” Clarke gasped while backing away from the room called the ventilation nexus. They had me crawl around the vents WITH A THING CALLED THE ULTRA VIRUS WEDGED UP MY ARM PIT?

Clarke followed the exit signs to where a milling crowd of the facility’s staff were being corralled through a checkpoint. Clarke took a deep breath and joined the line. Thankfully they weren’t doing badge checks, the guards must have still thought that a thief sneaking through the vents wouldn’t take a wrong turn like an idiot and end up in the locker rooms . . .

“Hey you!”

Clarke tensed as a guard approached him from the rear, he pretended not to hear him and pushed through the check point.

“Hey buddy, I’m talking to you!” a hand reached out and grabbed Clarke by the shoulder, turning him around. The guard was a stern looking jock who scrutinised Clarke up and down.

Clarke’s eyes were darting around as he tried to plan his next move, “Yes?” his eyes drifted to the gun in the guard’s hand . . . and he froze when he saw the guard’s name badge.


Jackson’s face broke into a smile, “I have that exact same jacket!”

Clarke hesitated, “Oh, really? No way!” he laughed hesitantly.

“It’s a good fit isn’t it?” Jackson clapped Clarke on the shoulder, “Didn’t mean to startle you, you best get going, situation’s dangerous here.”

“Sure thing sir, good luck with whatever’s going on.”

“Thanks mate.” Jackson smiled and went back to scrutinise the line.

Clarke turned from the facility and hurried away, thanking whatever god out there was looking out for him.

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