off that far end. Because he had the strangest feeling that there was something just beyond it. Something that was gathering its breath, preparing for the push through, like some sort of ancient and evil child waiting to be reborn.
Stephen Franklin jabbed with the shock stick, catching one of his attackers around the knee. The charge sizzled through his assailant, who let out a howl, his knee collapsing. But he fell right toward Franklin, and only a quick right cross from Franklin managed to knock him back.
From the corner of his eye, he saw Zack Allan fighting with greater intensity and ferocity than Franklin had ever seen from anyone in battle. His hair askew, his face battered, Zack didn't back down. Incredibly, the more he fought, the more energized he seemed. "You want some more?" howled Zack. "Come on! Come on!" He lashed out at a second opponent, flattened him, swung on a third and then a fourth. They converged on him, trying to bear him to the ground, and then Franklin lunged forward with the shock stick, knocking aside the ones on the outer edge of the pile. They fell away, howling, glaring at Franklin with inhuman fury in their eyes. Franklin cast a quick glance back at the fallen woman and couldn't help but wonder whether she was lying there dying, even as the helpless doctor stood a few feet away, inflicting injury, fighting for their mutual survival.
Sheridan worked quickly and briskly. He attached his "present" to the wall and punched an activation code into it. He couldn't hear the computer as it said, "Thermonuclear detonation sequence armed. Detonation sequence starts in five minutes." However, he saw the lights come on in the proper combination and knew that the device was armed and ready to go.
His attention was once more drawn to the energy-filled