"Fair enough," Roland said calmly. "Two other new comers are across the street in the alley. I'm on the side of the building covering the fire escape so our other two comrades can escape safely. They are still fleeing the horde somewhere upstairs. They haven't checked in but their probably running and fighting for their lives at the moment." The next moment a gun shot was heard. Then another. "Yup," Roland said.
"Roland!" Bishop cut in on the conversation.
"I'm here, Bishop!"
"We're-... almost-... on the roof!"
"Good," Roland trained his pistols up to the roof. "I was just wondering about you guys."
"Be ready," came Alex.
"Roger." Then he spoke to the newcomer and Niko again. " Alright, you and Niko meet us in the alley. We'll regroup their. We'll be coming fast." Roland clicked off his headset's transmitter and turned his head and shouted across the street. "Mina! Mason! Get ready to run!" Then he turned his focus upward. A door was slammed open up above and the horrendous chorus of bestial sounds expelled forth, occasionally perforated by a burst of gunfire. Then he saw them. First Alex, then Bishop. Roland was very slightly relieved to finally see them again, but they were so far from safe. They began to shimmy down as fast as they could. Roland began to systematically pick of any of their pursuers with precision. His pistols calmly popping every other second. When they finally hit the ground, Bishop called out.
"GO!" Bishop and Alex took off and Roland fired a couple for shots before bolting off after them. As they neared came out of the alley and turned onto the street, he yelled to those across the street, "GOOOOOOO!" They also bolted out of the alley, and the ragtag group was sprinting down the street. Bishop snatched Niko's large bag and slung it on his back. The occasional blind fire from those with Stim and guns dropped a degraded hear and there, but the large mass of unreasonably furious beings persisted.
We've got this, Roland thought. We can do this.
"Sven!" Bishop called out beside him, interrupting his thoughts. "We need off the street! Gotta get up!"
Oh, shit. That's right. We have to enter from the room... also... There was of course the horde at their backs that was their first obstacle. "Let's find a building-... across from ours-... that we can-..." Talking and sprinting is difficult.
"Got it!" Bishop knew what he was getting at. They kept running. Bishop and Roland made sure to keep with the others. Bishop only used his adrenaline control to increase his output enough to compensate the weight he was carrying. In fact, Roland, Bishop, and Alex, were keeping just behind the others, just in case.
They ran on for what seemed like forever, but they finally were getting nearer the mall. The street signs indicated as much. However, they needed to get into a building, and fast. They might have to get safe first, and then building hop the rest of the way.
"In here!" Roland called as he point up a head. He kicked it into overdrive via Stim and burst in the front door of an office building and found the stairs. There he stood, flagging everyone into the stair well. Bishop was in the rear, and was pulling what he could around him down into the path so that the degraded would have at least some what of a tougher time. Every second counted. Once he was in, Bishop hefted the large, bulky, heavy bag to Roland, as well as his rifle.
"Go," he bellowed. Roland hesitated with the bag in hand. "GO!" Roland nodded and bolted up the stairs. Bishop held the door closed for as he could. When Roland neared the top, the others safely above, he looked fown.
"BISHOP! THAT'S ENOUGH! GET YOUR ASS UP HERE, NOW!"
"Crazy bastard," Alex called out. Mina and Niko were panting heavily. Mason was sitting on the roof, leaning against the wall of the exit, heaving greatly.
Bishop had stayed more than enough time holding them off. His plan had worked. However, now he desperately needed to get up top. He pushed off the door and scaled the stairs with all he was worth. He couldn't use his stim abilities as much as he would like to, however, since he had used so much in such a short time. He had a damn good lead, though, by the time the degraded even set foot on the first stair.
"COME ON! Roland roared downward. A few moments later he stepped outside. "Mina!" She jerked her head in his direction, startled, scared and exhausted. "I need your pistol, mine are dry." She pulled it from her pocket and handed it too him. "Thanks," Roland muttered as he dashed back inside. He began to fire at those in the lead of the frenzy. As they fell, they would cause others to stumble. Thankfully, he was able to slowly widen the gap that had been closing in on Bishop. The marine was now getting so close to home. He was three quarters of the way up. Roland kept taking his time and making sure he made every shot. Five sixth, now. He shot his last two rounds. Seven eighths. "COME ON, BUDDY! YOU GOT THIS! IT'S ALL YOU!" Nine tenths. Roland was at the door, holding it open, but ready to slam it. Everyone else was safely outside at a very safe distance from the door. Mina was barely supporting the extremely drained Mason Steele. Bishop had been slowing down from understandable strain and exhaustion. The degraded were closing. Bishop, though, was almost there.
Roland was beckoning furiously. Bishop rounded the last bend and bounded his last steps and cleared the door just as the first fiendish face popped up from below. Roland slammed the preemptively locked door behind him. Five seconds later the pounding, scratching, snarling and screaming commenced. Roland. Fell back on his ass and heaved slowly. Bishop didn't come to a full stop until he almost reached the far side of the building. Roland recovered moments later and then scrambled back on his arms with some support of his legs until he was sitting just in front of the others. They all stared at the door. No one said a word until all was quite, which took a very, very long time. By the time the degraded settled down and probably left, the winded runners were finally recovered enough to speak.
"Well," Roland said. He slowly got up, groaning loudly. He legs were dead, as were everyone's. He couldn't even imagine how Bishop felt. Roland looked up as he recalled his friend. He found him laying on the ground at the far end of the building. Roland's eyes widened, but before he could react audibly, he noticed Bishop chest rise slowly. He was still breathing, just unconscious. Roland let out a long sigh of relief. "Well," he started again a moment later. We should get moving again soon. We're so close, and it will be dark in a few hours." They all consolidated around the sleeping marine. He was now the only one hindering their progress.
They all sat around their gear, beside Bishop. They tried waking him, but this was no normal sleep, so they decided to wait for at least an hour. Fortunately, however, Bishop began to rouse by himself. He had broken out into a cold sweat, and so Roland was really starting to worry, but as Bishop groaned softly and slowly slid open his eyelids, Roland's hope renewed. He kneeled over his comrade. "You alright, man," he asked with sincerity.
Bishop was unfocused. It could be seen in his eyes. Roland furrowed his brow. "Bishop?" Alex could see it, too. Bishop's visage gradually grimaced and then burst out into unexplainable rage. "HOLD HIM DOWN!" Alex exclaimed. Roland was already pinning down one arm, as Alex jumped on the other. Bishop tried to flail his way free. The others steered clear of the marine's kicking legs. The three struggled as Roland and Alex tried to bring their delirious companion back to sanity. After several futile moments, Mr. Skulls began to approach them.
Bishop burst free and stood as Mina, Niko and Mason staggered back.
"Hey!" Bishop jerked around to face the unknown assailant. The marine was confronted with a swift, solid slug to the face. Skull's fist collide with Bishop's face, and the man went down. He was motionless, as were the others. Skulls shook out his hand limply, then turned and walked back off to the side with Alice. Moments later, Bishop grunted and winced, his hand slowly finding his face. The hand recoiled and Bishop's eyes shot open.
"Sonuvuh..." Bishop mumbled at the recognition of the warm, red fluid. Roland had unknowingly been holding his breath and he let it out in an exasperated sigh. Then he slowly approached Bishop, and cautiously offered him a hand up. Bishop looked up, one eye closed tight to keep the blood out. He reached up and clasped Roland's and was assisted to his wobbly legs.
"What the hell happened," Bishop mumbled.
"We almost lost you," Alex said rather gravely.
"I'll tell you late," Roland said. Come on. Let's all stagger back home."
And so, the group on the rooftop made their way slowly from roof to roof, getting to their destination in the twilight.
"One more hop, and we're home free," Niko commented. They all groaned their last leap onto the mall, Alex in the lead, Roland in the rear, just behind Bishop. He hadn't taken his eyes off him since the man had freaked out on that office building roof. Now they were finally back at the mall. Roland allowed his mind to slip to the rest he'd finally be getting.
Home, sweet home," Niko announced exhaustively as he crossed the threshold. He lead the way to the security room and everyone dropped off their gear.
"Let's all get some water before we pass out for the week," Roland said. There was some chuckling, but he new they understood. They busted out the bottled water, downed the fluid until the case was empty. Then they all found somewhere comfortable and were out in ten seconds or less. Roland made sure to sleep near Bishop, with a newly loaded pistol in reach... just in case. He hoped with all his being he wouldn't have to use it.