Part three

Linda was drowsing in the medlab when something startled her awake. Unable to sit up because of the restraints, she looked around wildly trying to figure out what was going on, then with a sinking heart she knew.

At the same moment, one of the men guarding her came over and began to undo the restraints while the second one stood back, his gun aimed at her.

'We've got orders to transfer you to another location temporarily,' he told her as he produced handcuffs. Before he could put them on her, the double doors at the far side of the lab burst open and four figures entered, firing guns as they came. The guard standing to the side of Linda went down immediately, then the firing stopped.

'Let her go and we'll think about letting you live,' one of the infectees said, advancing towards Linda and the guard.

'I suggest you put your guns down and you may get out of this unharmed,' the guard responded. 'In a few moments you'll be surrounded.'

'Shut up,' another one screeched. 'Hand her over now.' He fired his gun into the air and the security guard ducked down behind the bed, pulling a silent Linda with him.

Trying to block out the events unfolding around her, Linda's mind was frantically processing the revelation she had just had, knowing what the others wanted from her but also knowing that under no circumstances could she do as they wished. Confident she wouldn't be harmed, she stood and stepped away from the guard who tried to pull her back down to relative safety.

'I won't help you,' Linda told them coldly, standing her ground.

'You don't have any choice, the power is within you and cannot be denied,' the first one told her.

'I still have free will and I cannot let you continue. I will help them stop you,' Linda was firm in her resolve, a resolve that began to waver when he fired his gun again, hitting the guard who was still trying to protect her. Swiftly bending down and standing back up again, she kept the bed between herself and the intruders and backed away from them, towards the second set of doors in the lab. As she reached the doors, she began firing the gun she had just picked up, slowing down the pursuit just long enough to enable her to race out into the stairwell.

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Cavennaugh watched and listened at the door to the med lab, trying to understand what was going on and where everyone was positioned. As he was about to order the men in to take control, he heard Linda's last statement and waved the others out of the way to allow her room to get out before they entered. Unaware of the presence of anyone else, she struggled as Cavennaugh grabbed hold of her.

'It's Cavennaugh,' he hissed at her, trying to get her to calm down. 'This way.' Holding her arm securely, he steered her away from the med lab and up the flight of stairs to the next level where he hastily opened the first door he came to and pulled her inside with him. The short time he had spent listening to the proceedings in the lab had been enough to tell him that Linda was somehow the key to the plans of this group of infectees and he had to keep her away from them at all costs.

'Cavennaugh to all details,' he spoke rapidly into his radio. 'Close in on the med lab, take the prisoners down using whatever force necessary. They must not be allowed to leave that level.' He paused before speaking again, this time to Molly and JT in the control room. 'They're pinned down in the med lab I've got Linda with me on the next floor in one of the interview rooms. They went after her to help them with whatever it is they're up to. I'll let you know when everything's under control. Cavennaugh out.'

He turned back to Linda who was standing where he had left her. Her face was pale, her eyes full of pain and in a moment he was beside her, helping her sit down on the floor where she stood.

'What's wrong?' She appeared not to hear him, her eyes glued to the door. 'Linda?' Still no response. 'Linda,' he spoke sharply, shaking her arm and at last she looked at him.

'I can feel them, in here,' she tapped her forehead. 'They're injured but they won't give in. They're trying to follow us. They know where I am and they're coming.'

Swearing under his breath, Cavennaugh raced to the door and wrenched it open, realising the sounds of fighting were getting louder as the agents were being forced to retreat up the stairs.

'Ok, we have to get you further away,' he went to help Linda stand up, surprised when she resisted.

'They won't get here,' Linda whispered, her face buried in her hands. 'Three are dying and have stopped moving, the fourth is already dead.'

As she spoke, his radio crackled into life once more and reported the facts Linda had just supplied him with. Kneeling beside her, he pulled her hands away from her face, shocked at the expression of despair, hopelessness and agony he saw there. As he watched, the light in her eyes faded even further until her shoulders slumped in exhaustion.

'Are they..?' He left the question hanging, knowing the answer even before she nodded wearily. Checking her pulse, he hastily issued further instructions, wrapping his jacket around her shoulders in an attempt to keep her warm.

'She's in shock,' Cavennaugh told Fenway briefly as he arrived at last, accompanied by Molly and JT. 'She seemed to be connected to the infectees and felt everything as they were dying, then she collapsed.'

'I need to get her to the med lab as quickly as possible,' Fenway snapped after checking Linda's reactions.

Cavennaugh nodded agreement, picking up the conscious but unresponsive Linda and moved swiftly to the stairs, picking his way carefully through the aftermath of the shoot out, his experienced eyes taking note that none of their own people seemed to be too badly injured.

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'What's going on?' Molly asked anxiously as she was summoned to the med lab by a serious sounding Fenway.

'Her theta waves are off the chart,' Fenway told her, defeat in his voice. 'The alien DNA is rapidly taking control, she won't be human for much longer.'

'But you said there was almost no trace of it before,' Molly was puzzled, unwilling to believe what she was hearing.

'I can't explain it. Perhaps being linked so closely to the other infectees when they died may have triggered it.' Fenway swept the papers off the bench in frustration. 'I don't think I can take much more of this.'

'Can I talk to her?'

Fenway glanced at Molly and nodded, watching her make her way towards Linda before following her more slowly, keeping his distance.

'How are you feeling?' Molly asked.

'I don't have much time,' Linda told her, trying to catch her breath. Molly frowned and turned to look at Fenway who moved closer to check Linda's condition. 'What happened the other day changed me. It's something that should have happened to the others as well, but it hasn't worked yet. I could sense the others and when they were close enough, I could tell what they were thinking. They need me to help bring them all together, to make their plans work. They want to use me to communicate over longer distances. I won't let that happen, they can't use me like that. As long as I am alive, they'll keep coming after me. I'm sorry.' Linda's eyes slid closed and her breathing grew shallower.

'Aren't you going to do something?' Molly snapped at Fenway.

'There's nothing I can do,' Fenway sounded defeated. 'Her brain's shutting down.'

'But…'

'She knew what was happening to her. This is what she wanted,' Fenway told her. 'It's probably for the best, we could never have let her go after this, you know that as well as I do.'

Molly returned to the now deserted control room. Everyone else had already left and she found it helpful to look out of the window and run through the events of the day in her mind. It was always hardest when they lost innocent people, and that's what Linda had turned out to be. Brushing away the tears she had been unable to stop falling, she made her way to the door, switching the lights off as she went. Tomorrow was another day, her plan was needed now more than ever and she had to make sure she was there to implement it.

THE END

Disclaimer: I don't own Threshold, it's characters or stories, I'm just responsible for the people and plots I made up myself.