Peggy Lee jumped as though being awakened from a dream. She quickly stepped over, put her hands next to Graham’s hands on the server rack and starting pushing.
“All we have to do is keep his arm caught in there until the soldiers--- ”
But Graham was interrupted by Ian’s yelling: “You bitch, I will kill you too if I have to!” Then the rack surged forward, and Ian managed to free his arm. In so doing, though, he lost his balance and fell back on his heels. Graham and Peggy Lee then drove the rack hard and fast back into its spot. Ian tripped backwards into the service corridor wall, trying to get away from the rapidly advancing rack.
“Pin him in there!” Graham yelled. Peggy Lee sobbed as she pushed against the rack. Just moments ago, Graham had wanted to hurt her for what she had done to him. But now, he felt a heart-breaking allegiance to her. She was trying to save him. She was fighting on his side. He wanted to grab her and take her away, to change everything and disappear with her forever. But he realized in that instant that he would never have her.
The rack picked up speed as the two of them stumbled forward. And then it crashed against the wall with a bang, but there was no thud of Ian getting slammed in between the rack and the wall. He had jumped to the side quickly enough to avoid their advance. Graham’s plan had worked to a certain extent, but now Ian had sprung his trap and was lumbering through the darkness of the corridor, bloodthirsty and looking for revenge. He would appear in moments, and then Graham would have to fight him face-to-face. He hoped that he had done enough damage to Ian’s arm to give him the upper hand. But he knew that victory over Ian was still a long shot.
Peggy Lee returned to the corner where she had stood before. She slumped to the floor and pulled her knees up tight against her chest.
Graham glanced around the room, looking for anything that he could use as a weapon against Ian. His broken knife would be of little use. An heavy office chair lay on its side near his feet. He grabbed it and pulled it upright, thinking that maybe he could heave it at Ian and get lucky. Or perhaps he could use it as a battering ram. There was not enough time to untie the two soldiers at the far end of the room, who were struggling to free themselves. Graham knew that they would never get free in time.
Just then, Ian emerged from behind the server racks. Rivulets of blood flowed down his right arm, which hung loose at the side of his body. His fingers released droplets of blood onto the linoleum floor, forming perfect round dots next to his boot. His pants were torn at the knee, revealing a large blue bruise that shot halfway down his shin and was punctuated by a deep gash. Blood had stained the cuff of his pants dark red.
When their eyes met, Graham recognized Ian’s glare; it was the same hateful look he had been giving Graham all along – only vastly intensified now. Graham could have sworn that Ian smiled at him – just a hint of a smile, snide, cold, and hard – but then maybe it was a grimace from the pain. Ian ran his fingers through his hair and spat into the palm of his still fully functioning left hand.
Graham began to shake. One of his knees buckled underneath him. He almost fell, but then he grabbed the back of the chair for support. “I don’t understand why you are doing this,” he started.
“No, I don’t expect that you would,” Ian replied. “You and your kind just don’t see what’s happening – what’s already happened. You don’t see the effect you’re having on the global environment – on the re-balancing of the atmosphere. You think you have all the answers, but you are in fact the problem. We, or rather I should say, I am here to save this fucking planet.” Ian shot Peggy Lee a look over Graham’s right shoulder. She continued to cower in the corner.
“You, Graham,” Ian continued, “help to perpetuate the existence of vast populations of useless, degenerate, and insatiable humans. We need to make those people disappear before they can do any more damage to the planet. Peggy Lee used to understand, but now look at her – indecisive and cowardly – she’s put the whole mission in jeopardy.”
“Don’t involve her in this,” Graham said. “This is just between you and me.”
Ian was definitely smiling now. “Alright then, we can talk about Ms. Peggy Lee later. There are lots of things about her that you may not know, Colonel. But we’ll save that discussion for another day.”
“That was clever work there with the server racks,” Ian continued as he wiped his mouth with the back of his hairy forearm. “I underestimated you.”
Just then, they heard loud banging from outside the main doors.
“Don’t worry about that racket out there,” Ian said. “You and I both know that the outcome in here will have nothing to do with them. As you said yourself, it’s just you and me now, and I am just getting warmed up.”