So the room below me was full of big, armed men. If I was a real superhero, I could have jumped down there and taken them all out before they had a chance to react at all. If I had any kind of special gadgetry, I would have thrown in a smoke bomb or something like that, a concussion grenade maybe, and then I’d have the whole room down and life would be good.
Problem was, I had nothing to incapacitate anyone with. I was outnumbered and currently the size of a three year old. It was, I should probably mention, a very small ventilation shaft.
I was doomed, basically.
I considered crawling back to let April know what I’d found, but I figured that was just a waste of time and would only annoy her. It was up to me to come up with something at this point, and I wasn’t doing so well.
I moved away from the room, hunting for a new exit, one with less people to see me fall on my face when I landed.
Clayton hated ventilation shafts. He really, really hated ventilation shafts. He wasn’t sure there was anything more evil than a ventilation shaft. No, wait, there was. It was called… spandex.
He took another look at the room below him. No good. There were way too many people in there. He couldn’t do that. He didn’t have anything to throw down there and knock them out or cause a distraction. He wasn’t that good of a fighter, and he knew it. He couldn’t take on that many men, not now. He was not going to be able to use that exit. He had to find a different one.
He could go back to April, tell her about this, try and talk strategy, but that was a waste of time. He should be able to deal with this on his own. He just had to keep looking for a different way out. It was simple enough.
Other than the fact that there were not very many outlets for this ventilation shaft, and he was having a hard time finding any besides the one in the room where April was and the one full of goons. This wasn’t going to be easy. Then again, it was him. He knew it wouldn’t be. They had thought that Kilbourne or whoever stuck them in that room overlooked his abilities, but maybe they knew there was no way out of this shaft.
He couldn’t afford to assume that, though. April was counting on him, and he was going to come through for her for a change.
He continued on, relieved when he finally caught sight of another grill. He stopped and looked down. Yes. Perfect. A supply closet. He could work with this. He’d even be able to climb down the shelves because even as long as it had taken to find this, he knew it hadn’t been twenty minutes, so he couldn’t shift back yet.
He forced the grill off and started down the shelves, carefully making his way and hoping he wouldn’t end up falling. It was hard with his hands this size. He was going to end up falling on his face. Of course, thinking about it didn’t help. He found himself on the ground, rubbing a sore spot on his arm. He’d better not pass out for that one. At least he hadn’t fallen from the top shelf or the entrance to the shaft. That would have been a lot worse.
He smiled slightly and went to the door.
And let out a curse. He wasn’t tall enough to reach the damn handle. It figured.
“What took you so long?”
“I do actually thank you when you bail me out of these things, right? You rescue me and I thank you profusely, don’t I? I make odes about how you’re the superhero and not me, how I don’t deserve you, and then I usually kiss you—”
April cut him off with a kiss. “Thank you. I’m sorry. It just seemed like forever before you opened the door.”
“Had to be at least twenty minutes, remember? Can’t believe I was too small to open the damn door,” Clayton grumbled. April gave him a look, and he pointed to the handle of the one he’d just opened. “Hello? I had to be a toddler to get through the ventilation shaft. I tried to open the door when I finally got down, but I couldn’t. Trying to fashion a makeshift stool just ended up with me falling on my butt repeatedly, so I gave up and waited to shift, okay?”
She sighed. “I really wish we could figure out a way around the twenty minute rule.”
“Ha. And have my power be useful? You’ve got to be kidding. That would be nice, and nice things—other than you—don’t happen to me,” Clayton muttered, grabbing her by the hand. “Come on. I did actually climb back into the shaft and work on some surveillance while I was waiting. I’ve got a pretty good idea of the layout, and I think the area we want is this way.”
April smiled. “My hero.”
“You’re just saying that to mess with me.”
She shrugged, letting him lead her through the building to the room he’d found that looked rather like a lab with a private office on the one side of it. He figured that was probably where Kilbourne’s office was, and that was where they wanted to be. The others should handle the men in here—if they showed up at all—and the answers they wanted would be in Kilbourne’s files. Plus, that room was unguarded, unlike the one full of goons Clay’d had to avoid earlier.
“What is this place?”
“I don’t know. The warehouse was convenient, I guess. This seems a lot more sophisticated. Like it might actually be where Kilbourne’s been working since he went rogue.”
April sighed. “I hate to bring this up, but that falls into the ‘too easy’ category, doesn’t it? I mean, if he is doing what we think he is, if he’s been working on some other projects since they forced him to stop whatever it was they were planning on doing to you, then why would he take us there? You might still be the key to his research, but me?”
“You are the brains of our operation,” Clayton reminded her as they reached the lab. “And you did save me before, so maybe they figured they had to take you out to get to me.”
“Or perhaps your wife is far more valuable than you think, Moore.”