Just then, Peggy Lee stirred behind Graham. He glanced back and was relieved to see her getting to her feet.
“Oh no you don’t, you little traitor,” Ian roared. “Stay right where you are!”
“I will not,” Peggy Lee fired back as she stepped forward. “You have controlled me enough. This is all wrong. We shouldn’t be doing this. It’s just plain murder. They’re wrong, too, I know, but blowing this place up is not going to make a bit of difference in the end. There’s nothing that can be done to make things right.”
“It’s the principle of thing, Peggy Lee,” Ian said, “you know that.”
“What principles exist anymore? Everything’s dying.” She now stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Graham.
“On three, we rush him with all that we’ve got, okay?” Graham said quietly.
“Okay, I’m ready.”
“One . . . two . . . .” He picked up the chair and positioned it in front of his body with the base facing Ian. “Three!” He sprinted toward Ian, who immediately jumped into a fighting stance. Peggy Lee ran towards Ian as well, a few steps behind Graham.
Graham tried to jam the chair directly into Ian’s belly. Ian however proved much quicker than Graham had expected. The giant pivoted back and to the right like a matador and pushed the chair and Graham off to his side with his still-able arm. Graham fell headlong onto the floor. His face and shoulder struck the linoleum hard. Blood immediately began to pour from his nose. The chair had flown out of Graham’s grasp, across the room, and caromed off of the wall.
Peggy Lee jumped onto Ian and landed one clean blow with the palm of her hand to the back of his head. Ian, however, easily pulled her off and threw her to ground next to Graham.
“Are you alright?” Graham asked.
“Yeah,” she struggled to say. “He just knocked the wind out of me.”
Ian was now bouncing side to side like a boxer. “Do you want some more of me?” he taunted. “Because there’s plenty more where that came from. Or would you rather just tie yourselves up right now and avoid any more of these inane confrontations. I’ve got more important business to attend to.”
“You have not beaten us yet,” Graham said, wiping the blood from his nose with the sleeve of his shirt. “My job is to defend these facilities, and defend them I will.”
He got to his feet, rolled his shoulders and his neck and put his fists up. “I’m not done fighting you.”
“Peggy Lee,” Ian called. “It’s not too late. I’ll forgive you. Let’s finish this guy off and get back to work. We have to blow this place before the soldiers get through that door. We still have time. Come on, do it for Dad, if for nothing else.”
“What?” Graham asked. “Did he say ‘do it for Dad’?”
“There’s no time to explain,” Peggy Lee answered. “Just leave it be. And you, Ian, I will not help you. You’ve fucked up my life for far too long.”
“Alright, that really was your last chance.” Ian then made a fist with his one good hand and started walking toward the two of them.
Just then, Graham saw something behind Ian. A familiar face was peering out from behind the server racks. It was Charley – he had finally squeezed through the shaft. The odds had now shifted; Graham tried to conceal his smile.