Sixty-Second Self-Destruct
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60 seconds:

Graham ran down the cold, metallic corridor at dead-speed. He could feel the shift of his clothing as they billowed from his speed and stretched taut with his movement. All around him, the corridor was testing his senses - the turning red warning lights, the klaxon assaulting his ears. His gaze shifted at lightning speed, warily looking for anything that could potentially slow him down - from the burnt encampments of fallen bulkhead to enemy soldiers. Every second was precious. Every second counted.

50 seconds:

In his field of vision, Graham noticed a support beam lying diagonally across the corridor. As he neared it, he pushed off the ground with his right foot and dived over the beam. Tucking his head towards his chest, he ended with a somersault on the ground and felt as each vertebra came into contact with the hard floor panels. Using his inertia, he propelled himself to a standing position and continued to run, not losing any speed. Sweat was flung from his face as he shook his head quickly to clear his mind. He mustn’t forget the number, he thought. He mustn’t.

  
 
40 seconds:

As he neared the turn-off he would take, the red warning lights illuminated an enemy soldier, the red light reflecting off the soldier’s glinting government-issued survival knife. The soldier was standing directly in front of the turn-off, not moving. Graham didn’t have time for a fight, so he decided not to draw his own knife – as his training would recommend – and continue to run. He had long since abandoned his firearm, which without ammunition was useless.

30 seconds:

The soldier didn’t appear to register Graham until the last second. Graham used his speed and weight to knock the soldier off his feet, carefully avoiding the soldier’s knife. Graham tore past the soldier – Graham’s foot was pulled from under him, causing him to falter and fall to the floor. He stole a glance behind him and noticed that the soldier had grappled at his body in a last ditch effort to not fall to the ground, only able to catch his leg. The soldier swung his other hand in a large arc towards Graham’s shin. In his hand, the large knife cut through the air.

20 seconds:

Graham moved his leg out of the soldier’s line-of-attack. Keep moving from the enemy’s line-of-attack, he recalled from the Academy. The enemy must then readjust, giving you time to get the upper hand, he heard his professor’s voice as vividly as if he was once again sitting in his seat in the third-row in the lecture hall. The soldier’s knife plunged down between two metal plates. The soldier pulled upwards on it, only to find that it was stuck between them. Graham rolled on his side and brought his leg up and into line with the soldier’s face. He bent his leg and then slammed his heel into the soldier’s face, hearing a faint crack over the louder thud. The soldier collapsed onto the floor, blood gushing from his nose.

10 seconds:

Graham propelled himself upwards and ran as fast as possible. Head bent downwards, arms pumping, feet landing on the ground for but a second before being pulled forwards. Graham saw the flight of stairs up ahead. Ignoring his exhaustion and aching muscles, he pummeled up the stairs, two at a time.

5 seconds:

Graham ran from the stairs towards the other end of the control room.

4 seconds:

He could make out the red ‘4’ on the counter on the computer screen.

3 seconds:

He stopped at the computer, the soles of his shoes gripping the metal floor.

2 seconds:

Graham loomed over the computer’s keyboard and typed the authorization code: 8-1-4-5-2-6-6-7.

1 second:

He hit ‘Enter.’

The counter held at ‘1’.

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