Snyder climbed out of his bed, and grabbed his backpack from under the bed. He tiptoed into the latrine and changed into his red and gray Portland Trailblazers hoodie and black cargo jeans.
Snyder crept outside the barracks. He looked around. Nobody but the guard at fort’s front gate. He needed a way out of here, one that wouldn’t be picked up by security, or by the guards. He looked over at the generator room and ran to it.
He examined the door. The lock mechanism contained a tag reader. Good luck to Recruit Snyder getting in there.
Snyder jogged to a window and looked for security sensors. None, just a dumb window. He pulled the window open. He smiled. And an even dumber person who last closed it didn’t bother locking it. Snyder climbed in.
He hustled to the electronic control area and ran down the list of functions. Hmm. “Schedule outage.” Interesting.
He pressed the button.
A female voice said, “Password authentication required.”
If they were smart, they’d used random characters, but most folks seemed to find that type of password impossible to remember. He’d have to take one shot and make a break for it when it didn’t work.
He typed in, “J-I-R-E-L.”
The screen blinked. “Authentication accepted.”
He set a forty-five second blackout on the West Perimeter fence. The lights would go out and he’d scale the wall and be outside the fort before the lights came back on.
Snyder made his way towards the obstacle course. Footsteps echoed in the dark.
He ducked behind a barracks and peered out.
A Private First Class was walking towards the guard post. That meant the guard currently on duty would be heading back to his barracks.
Snyder got up a few minutes later and crept through the darkness, arriving at the obstacle course. A wooden supply room held the equipment. He tugged on the padlock. Apparently they decided this equipment wasn’t worth protecting with modern technology. He retrieved a small lock pick from his wallet.
He jimmied the lock open and grabbed a grappling hook from the wall. He looked at his watch. Ten minutes to spare. He opened the door, peaked outside, and quickly closed it. The captain was coming.
The footsteps grew closer until the captain stopped. The sound of a match lighting followed. Snyder pushed back the absurd idea that the captain would burn him alive.
Tobacco smoke wafted into the room. Snyder sniffed. It was like the pipe tobacco the old men at Grandma’s church smoked after the service while gripping about the former altar boy they thought deaf.
Snyder resisted the urge to cough. He reached for the wall and carefully removed a gas mask from it’s hook and placed it over his head.
Six minutes later, footsteps walked away. Snyder stuck his head out the door.
In the clear. He removed the gas mask, grabbed the grappling hook, and dashed to the wall. He hit it with a minute to spare. He looked up at the wall and noted the flight path the hook would have to take.
All right, only going to get one shot at this.
The lights went out.
Snyder threw the hook. It hit the top of the fence with a firm clank. He climbed up and over the fence and pulled the hook back over behind him.
Five seconds later, the light came on.
Snyder traipsed triumphantly through the woods outside the fort. He’d done it.
His blood turned to ice.
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