Disclaimer: I don't own Primeval or its characters…
Author's note: Basically, a resolution to the 4x07 cliffy, in an Emily-focused way. Also some back story for her. Character focus/POV varies by chapter (as needed to tell story), so basically, includes a bunch of characters (probably just those in series 4, though hard to say quite yet…)
The air tasted metallic, sulfuric, despite the efforts of the filter sealed over her nose and mouth. Thinking about the barrier only incited a panic akin to one drowning. Shallow breaths were key. Just keep a steady, short rhythm. And do not, under any circumstances, think about the small device that was the only thing preventing the toxic atmosphere from blistering vulnerable tissue to shreds. Granted that maintaining a steady intake of air was more difficult whilst traversing rough terrain. Climbing the side of a respectably steep hill made it near impossible. It felt as if her lungs were sucking air through a narrow tube.
After little physical difficulty but much struggling against over-breathing her filter, she ascended the hill and looked out over a basin. There was a time when 'valley' would be the term she favoured. However, in this place, it was scarce appropriate. 'Valley' was a term that dredged up imagery of fertile, idyllic splendor. This place was not remotely reminiscent of any ideal she had ever associated with the term. No, this was nothing more than a basin. A lifeless, geologic feature.
She shaded her eyes against the sun. Again, the term seemed inappropriate. The sky was dark, gloomy and entirely without a hint of the blue she had longed for since she had first set foot in this place. The strange sun shown blood red through the veil of particulates permanently suspended in the aether. A cheerful yellow, she ached for...
This place broke her heart in so many ways. The most severe of which was the utter loneliness of the surface. However, that same desolateness should aide her search. She scanned the dusty, rocky, dead -like this whole bloody world- basin, squinting against the red sun which was in her direct line of sight. Other than currently rendering her blind, the orb barely gave enough light to see one's feet as they traipsed forward, tripping and stumbling, over the surface.
There, as the terrain sloped up the basin wall, glittering with a light and colours no longer native to this world, a gateway in time shone bright. The gateway for which she'd been searching, waiting. She deftly pulled the rifle from its holster and laying belly down on the rough gravel, brought the weapon up as if to discharge it but only sighted the scope on target.
It was most decidedly a gateway.
The unnatural light flickered, a shadow crossing before it. With a delicate stroke of the panel on the side of the scope, the lens focused tighter. The shadow was a man in black military fatigues. She inhaled too sharply for her filter's proper function and subpurified air bit at her insides, causing her to wheeze. After a moment recovering her breath, she sighted on the gateway once more. She had allowed her emotions to carry her away. The man wasn't whom she had presumed him to be upon first glance. Neither were the two other whom had joined it through the gateway.
And yet it wasn't a complete disappointment. Even from this distance, she was certain the fatigues were of the right period. True, military uniforms were much slower to change than societal fashion trends. But everything, every instinct told her this was the right gateway.
Just as she was wondering how she'd cover all the open ground and slip through the hole in time undetected, the three men doubled over with apparent coughing fits. They had been ill-equipped for the hostile environment. She smiled, feeling the filter pull against the movement of the muscles in her face. They withdrew.
How long until they locked the gateway? For they surely would do so if they followed the procedure of those she presumed to hail from the same time. Or if they were who she feared them to be, they might close it entirely. She could only hope that they had returned in order to acquire better equipment with which to explore this place.
Holding the rifle to her chest -who could say whether there were nearby gateways releasing terrible creatures to pounce on her- she sprinted for the gateway. Even knowing the result of such straining physical activity didn't prepare her for the pain as her lungs began to suck in the corrosive unpurified air faster than her filter could cope. She steeled herself against the burning agony and commenced the mental preparations necessary for a fight if the situation on the other side called for it.
Slowing only marginally, she dropped to a slide though the sparkling gateway, drawing the rifle butt to her shoulder in anticipation of having to discharge it.
They had left the room holding the open gateway entirely vacant. This could be only one place. And the coat of arms painted on the otherwise sterile white walls only confirmed such conclusion.
She ripped the filter from her face, gasping like a fish out of water. Her eyes watered as she choked and coughed, the clean air pushing out the corrosive gas burning her lungs. She hacked until tainted mucus filled her mouth and she promptly spat it onto the formerly pristine floor. It was unladylike, but she allowed herself the brief entertainment of triumph over sullying the place. With a groan, she picked herself up off the ground. Her hip announced its distaste for the use to which she had put it. The skin was likely already discolored and would remain tender for days if not weeks. Running a hand down the outside of her thigh, she examined her trousers. Not even the slightest sign of damage. Any other pair, or her skirts would've seen her leg shredded to the bone upon the gravelly pumice on the other side of the gateway. Borrowing them had definitely proven a good idea.
Cautiously, she approached the only door granting access to the room.
No doubt there would be a guard outside. The room was probably sealed, likely monitored, which would explain even the pompous Philip Burton's confidence in leaving a gaping hole in time idling by itself.
All of which meant that she didn't have much time. Rather ironic an observance when her lifestyle as of late was taken into consideration. Trying the handle proved futile. There was some kind of electronic lock beside door. Much technology still remained entirely outside of her comprehension. But she knew this much: On the whole, they did not like electromagnetic pulses.
Stepping back, she raised her rifle and shot the locking mechanism, which decided that it wanted to go out with style, spewing sparks and making several popping noises.
Unfortunately, the door was hung in the manner as to cause it to swing into the room. The adrenaline coursing through her veins would've been much appeased by kicking it roughly open. Plus, in doing so, there was the delicious possibility of incapacitating any guard with the heavy metal panel. But alas, she was forced to inhale in a deep, steadying manner, wrap her fingers about the handle and pull the door open, briefly exposing herself to...
...Well, apparently nothing.. No guard could be seen. A brief bout of superiority claimed her thoughts. Were they really so careless? And then a great din filled the building, echoing through the vast, empty corridors. Disabling the lock on the room had gotten their attention. She'd have to be quick.
The schematics she had recovered for the building had been partial at best. However, she was certain that the only road adjoining the complex to the rest of the world lay to the north of the site. She tried her compass, but the gateway was playing havoc with it. Glancing out a window to find the sun -a beautiful golden sun- she settled upon a direction and sprinted down the corridor, rifle at the ready. Not exactly a good close-range weapon, but hopefully there'd be time to pull up on anyone who needed incapacitating. Which in this godforesaken place was likely everyone.
She rounded a corner, barely slowing, and ran straight into a wall.
Only this wall was made of flesh and grunted from the force of the impact. It also staggered several feet as her much smaller frame was likewise rebounded. Despite the fact that every person in the building was now aware of her presence, the large man seemed startled by her sudden appearance.
Both in the past and future, far before mankind walked upright and far after every trace of him had been erased by time, there were superpredators. The slightest hesitation in the presence of these creatures resulted in immediate death. Or slow, grotesque, agonizing, but just as inevitable, death. Thus the advantage in this confrontation fell to the person most experienced in such situations, rather than to the man who hesitated for a stunned second.
She took the opportunity to promptly strike her bewildered opponent aside the head with the butt of her rifle. Granted, she had to jump a little to do so, but her aim was apt enough. The weapon slammed against his temple with a muted 'crack' absorbed by the tissue and bone of his cranium. He crumpled to the ground with a much louder declaration of flesh colliding with immutable substance.
The man who had customized the weapon for her had seemed especially proud of the fact the stock was manufactured from an alloy with a substance called 'titanium.' From all the technical babble, she gathered that this rendered it lighter, easier for her to handle. It also meant that she could fracture as many skulls as she desired without worrying about damaging her beloved rifle.
The next few corridors were rather smooth traversing and with a quick glance round, she took a moment to get her bearings. And that's when she saw him.
There was some sort of atrium that ran parallel to the corridor. The conjoining wall was made entirely of glass, from ceiling (at least double her height) to the floor. The greenery had attracted her attention, if only for its disparities with the rest of the building she'd observed thus far. Plants from more geological eras than she could identify filled the space. And yet her eye line had been perfectly aligned to see between the massive branches of ferns. She could see, across the atrium in a glass-encased corridor similar to the one which she was traversing, Philip Burton.
She came to an abrupt halt, drawing her favourite weapon to her shoulder.
How did one set this thing to kill?
She could end this. She could end this right this moment. She'd arrived to relatively the correct time. And if it were just a bit too late, if events had already been set into motion, she could still avenge the world upon him at any rate.
Her finger had begun squeezing the trigger of its own accord by the time she realized the glass was obstructing her shot and eased up slightly. For some odd reason, the barrier was the breaking point that released her fury. She adeptly flipped the rifle round and began assaulting the glass with a jarring amount of force.
Hateful Bam. loathsome Bam. evil. Bam. man! Bam.
Blasted Bam. vile Bam. blighter! Bam.
The Bam. pompous Bam. bastard! Bam.
Spawn Bam. of Bam. the Bam. devil! Bam.
Go Bam. back Bam. to Bam. hell.! Bam.
Not even a crack. She screamed through clenched teeth, a guttural cry of frustration. And stopped dead. All the ruckus had garnered her prey's attention. Their eyes met momentarily and she sent every seething thought in her head towards him, hoping that perhaps the overwhelming vehemence might cause his head to explode in a fantastical spray of gore.
It did not.
And it was time to run.
Perhaps, she should run towards the harbinger of doom and destroy him even if it meant her own death. But then, if the events that ended in nothing more than the destruction of this wondrous world had already begun, there would be no one to warn him, tell the only people who could stop Burton's New Dawn.
She had responsibilities besides a vendetta against a corrupt man. They may not originally have been her burden, but she had taken it upon herself, and she could not easily shed it simply because her instincts and desires clashed with the ideals.
Her brief entertainment of blood lust may have already cost her the ability to escape this place. But there had been plenty of practice outrunning extraordinarily quick creatures and her legs were well trained.
They bolted on her behalf.
After what seemed an impossibly infinite amount of corridors, finally an exit appeared. The impact with the door was so sudden a stop that she near fell backward onto her bottom. Apparently, the building had been secured.
Audible shouts echoed down the hall, getting louder, closer, detectable even over the cacophony of the blaring alarms. Being only moments away from capture by people whom she readily believed to posses no limits to their depravity, she panicked. She thrashed against the door, crying out in desperate incoherent growls. Same as in that corridor, the glass was not glass, and did not break.
Her rifle bumped against her leg. A gentle reminder by a loyal friend.
Locking down a building with fancy electronic mechanisms was all well and good. It sort of defeated the purpose, however, when there was a key panel controlling the locking mechanism in plan view of someone with an Electromagnetic rifle.
A smile spread across the formerly panicked features of her face as she once more opened a supposedly secure door with a destructive spray of sparks.
The tree-line of an adequately dense-looking wood was a matter of moments away at a full sprint. Luckily, by the time weapons had been aimed in her general direction, the dense underbrush had already covered her escape. Forests were a particular purview of hers. Go ahead and send the punishers in after her. Just see what would happen next.
The former Lady Emily Merchant smiled from her perch high in the bright green foliage of an oak. For a moment, she would wait, just until the coast was clear. Then soon, very soon, she would find the man who had sent her home to her time and the ARC team she had met so long ago, and together they would change the future...
Or die in the attempt.
Author's Note: Had to write an Emily-centric, post 4x07 fic. She comes off as fairly tough, but I had the urge to make her completely badass (well, as much as I can manage)…