Last Week on the Disapprovers: The team commences the rescue itself. They suffer their first mission casualty when Frankie falls ill and dies while trying to release his first survivor of the lab.
For some unfathomable reason, I remembered that I had to go on. I sensed that the world around me wanted to go on. Why should it, when Frankie's world, at least in the form I knew it, had ceased to exist?
Some bunn's yelling got me out of neutral. It wasn't one of our crew, yet it sounded familiar. In the cage over, there was a little white bunn, staring me down with impatience.
"Hurry up, will you?" it yelled again. I got the harness and hopped over. "Just toss it over!"
I obeyed and threw the harness up. The bunn unclipped the carabiner and the harness and dropped them. Sammy and Quinn were looking at me, then at the bunn, in amazement. "Sammy, why don't you go and help Pancake? She's by herself now," I suggested, and Sammy sped off.
The bunn in the cage was busy with the rope. It tied a loop and fed the rope over one of the frame wires. It put one foot in the loop and holding on to the rope, lowered itself to the ground. When it got down, it only asked, "Which way is it, again?" I pointed toward the port. The bunn wheeled about and hopped off, limping. That's when I noticed that a big patch of fur on its back was shaved off.
Blood was beading up where something's been stuck into it until recently. I looked up at the cage again. Whatever it was that this little guy or gal had been hooked up to, laid torn out on the wire floor. Then it hit me. Suzy, this bunn reminded me of Suzy!
"Right, then; Quinn, let's get the next one," I said slowly as I pulled the rope down and fixed my poor, little harness setup. The next bunn was just as eager to get out. When Quinn hooked up the line, the bunn didn't wait for anything but grabbed the harness, put its foot in it, and swung out into the open air, almost free-falling to the ground. I barely had a chance to grab and put resistance on the rope.
Quinn and I moved on to the next cage, and I was starting to feel a little better, at least about the task at hand. Then, I did a little bit of math. Overall, we were making a very slow progress, and I sincerely wondered what would happen if we had to leave before every bunn was safely evacuated? Do we stay with them, here, in solidarity or quip on our way out, "Sorry lads, better luck next time, too bad you're all done for"?
Our next bunn needed some serious help getting into the harness and Quinn worked its tail off getting it secured. I heard one of the sliding glass doors open, and I froze. It was Bruno, once again. He wandered off the workstation island. "Um, guys, you need to see this!" I heard Bruno on the radio. "I'm on it!" responded Pancake from the far end of the room. She was the closest to him.
Quinn and I worked on getting our survivor to the ground. Zeus and Izzy had to help to get it on the rolling board.
"Oh, we're in so much trouble!" we heard Pancake. "Work the next one; I'll check it out," said Zeus as he headed toward Pancake. "Come on, Quinn" I mumbled, and we moved on. "We better pick up the pace," radioed Zeus, sounding incredibly somber. "We have about fourteen more rescues here."
For a while, that failed to register with me. I couldn't recall us making any contingency plans for the impossible, so this couldn't be real. I hopped over to the next cage. This one was ready to jump out as well. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Bruno speeding by like a madbunn, his giant darter bouncing up and down his back. Zeus and Freddie whizzed by next. I heard another swish of the sliding doors opening. None of that made any sense. Oh well, I kept working on the rescue, looking up at the bunn in the cage with Quinn. Then, Quinn froze, staring at something far to my left. I turned my head to look.
A big, hairless ape was standing at the door. It looked sleepy, dazed, and confused, and it wore a ragged, gray sweatsuit. The whole mess was topped off with an old, black, knitted cap that was almost pulled down over its eyes. It was holding something in one of its hands, with thin wires going from it to where its ears ought to be. It was a hoomin or our sysadmin. With a befuddled look on his gob, he was blaming the liquids from last night for what he was seeing. He thought it had to be his alcohol-contaminated bloodstream because there was no logical explanation for a cat pointing three barrels at him.
"If he moves, take him!" said Zeus. "We have him, too. We can get him from the air vent!" radioed Freddie.