Chapter 41: Thirst For Help
A van drives in the dark road, bypassing thick trees on either side of the, with only the moon as a source of light, as the headlights of the vehicle are shut off.
"Are we there yet?" Came a light voice.
"Hell if I know," Answered a deeper voice, "She only said to keep moving until we find a large block. Dudn't she know from buildings?"
"I can... Feel somting" Came a foreign accent, "Eet ees vedy hard to hold... We might be close..."
"How can ya tell? Ya's psychic or sumtin?" Came a raspy, Irish voice.
"No, I eesn't, psycheec."
"Can't we go any faster?" Said the lighter voice again, "I'm going to have a heartattack if we don't get there soon."
"Anyone near by?"
"..." There came a short pause, "No hyuman nears," Said the other voice, "I feel contained lightning right forward. Eet ees vedy deestracting"
"Contained lightnin?" The Irish voice said, "What teh feck does that mean?"
"I think she means the building," The light voice said. "Lets find someplace to park, and make our way there. It shouldn't be too far now."
"Aight." The dark voice replied. The van turned from the lone road, and road carefully into the woods.
The clock reads 2:13 am, and the scratching of pen and paper etches in the room as Erin writes down on the requested forms she had. It's been a few days since Adam's shock treatment. From what Kaiser had reported, he did NOT go easy. It's a miracle Adam can still walk after what he was put through.
As she said, Erin had taken steps to report Nigel for all the cruelty he has dealt out - given the chance, she'd have him done away with a long time ago, and his stunt with the electro-shock has given her JUST the edge she needs to report him.
However, like ALL allegations and paperwork, it takes time to receive the needed applications from the fax machine, and God forbid these sorts of papers could just be sent and printed off an email - confidentiality is a bitch sometimes. Not to mention having to force the necessary people to write and sign as witnesses - Nigel has been the warden of the Agency of Oceanic research for almost 20 years, and he has ruled this building with an Iron Fist. He has everyone so afraid of him, they barely have room in their heads for opinions.
Erin shook her head, reflecting that she too was so afraid of him, so damn meek as to do nothing while Nigel tortured these two innocent men.
And now she finally has the means to write up a report. The pen stroked and moved as she began to write in the margin for what Nigel Quinlan is being accused.
[Nigel Quinlan, through testimony of many of the employ of the Agency of Oceanic Research, thus the evidence attached, is guilty of violation of the 8th Amendment: Administration of Cruel and Unusual Punishment of]
She paused. Erin glanced her eyes at another folder full of special paperwork she had requested - these ones in particular, having needed a lot of strings to pull. After taking a few seconds, she continued writing.
[two American Citizens, both of which have committed absolutely no crime, carry no criminal records]...
Erin took a moment to yawn. She's been busy all day and night, committing every minute she has to trying to get Adam and Merrick to walk free out of the Agency. She only hopes Merrick can forgive her long enough to leave this place.
"Dammit... For God's sake..." Jacob irked as he searched high and low in the lab, careful not to disturb any of the equipment. Daniel walked in, not surprised to see his boyfriend in the deserted lab at this time of night, holding a couple of Red Bulls in his hands.
"Hey, Jacob," Daniel said. He noticed Jacob looking flustered and agitated as he moved about the lab. "What's going on?"
"I can't find my notes." Jacob said, "I've been looking for them for the past few days, and I can't find them anywhere!"
"Which notes would they be?"
"The analyses and the chemical pin-points on the merman tears," Jacob continued searching.
"Where did you last see them?" Daniel asked as he set aside the drinks, and began glancing around too.
"Right on THIS table!" Jacob said as he patted the spot where he last was working on the notes, "I took the rest of the day off because I felt terrible about what's been going on, and I forgot to put them away, and they've disappeared!"
"Maybe one of the other scientists took them to work on?" The guard suggested.
"No, none of them would even think about picking up someone else's work around here."
"What about Dr Kaiser? Did he scold you for not putting your findings away?"
"He probably might have, but he's been too busy in his study to unlock the door." He said, "Could you help me? Tell the other guards to try and find them?"
"You got it," Daniel said as he picked up his communicator.
"Mnnnhhh..." Adam rolled to his side as he blinked slowly. Ever since Nigel had him electrocuted, he's been stuck in this little room. The staff were at least nice enough to keep feeding up at least.
He can't get the image of Merrick in his head. His poor merman, half butchered and half bandaged. He nearly killed him in cold blood - twice! Even if they manage to escape this awful place, how is he going to make things better now? Merrick's mental state seems so delicate and destructive now. What if he wakes up one morning, and Merrick just starts screaming and ripping him apart? What if he goes after Yuri and Jamal? Is there any way to heal him, both physically AND mentally?
Adam cringed as he moaned, his eyes feeling sore.
Merrick growled as he smoothly loomed and circled around in the tank. Swimming is the only way to keep his mind focused, and to ease the boredom - his mind circulating every memory of his time in Adam's house, pressing it firmly in the front of his head to keep from thinking of anything else.
The humans barely have enough courage to come in here, and drop a fish into the tank for him to eat. At least they were tasty, but the bones littered the tank's bottom, since the humans are terrified that he'll strike them dead if they even try to take him out.
He feels so much pain and hatred right now... Cowards doing the bidding of a monster, they're all monsters. The only demon who meant anything to him in this prison is that Erin, and she was almost as bad as that Nigel - Lying monsters are always the worst. What sets her apart from Nigel is the fact that she at least sheds tears for him.
Merrick continued to swim in circles in the tank, managing to keep his wrath under control.
In the outside of the Agency, the lights are beginning to switch off. As each light turned off, four black figures quickly snuck in the plentiful shadows. They headed towards a lone door on the back of the building - possibly either a back door, or an emergency exit.
Each figure is wearing black clothing, and a ski mask with only eyeholes into it. One by one, they made it to the wall.
"You sure you ready fo this, Double-O 70?" The tallest figure whispered. The thicker figure chuckled.
"Shon, yur talkin to a lady who snuck out of her house more than any spider trou a hole - I broke in and out of places you wouldn't even tink of!" The Irish voice said proudly.
"Aight. What bout chu, Pink? Meds?"
"Lets just hurry," The light voice said, "We've waisted enough time."
"I ees ready." Said the thick voice.
The taller figure nodded, before he held up a phone, and switched on its light. It shone a lock without a doorknob. The shorter figure walked in, brandishing a hairpin in her gloved fingers, and inserted it into the keyhole.
Within seconds, the door clicked, and the door creaked open, "Heh heh!" The Irish whispered, "Ain't a door alive can keep ME out!" She mumbled.
"Aight. Pink, you first." Said the tall figure, "We'll follow close behind."
"Yees." The other figure nodded before stepping in - slipping deliberately in with a smooth grace. Meds hissed as the hinges of the doors squeaked, as she quickly slipped in. OO70 stepped into, before J-Man snuck in last, and closed the door, placing a pebble to keep it ajar JUST enough to keep it hidden.
Sarah the guard sighs as she watches the security cameras. Nothing on, as usual - besides the fact that she was ordered to overlook any and everything that Erin does when going to visit the merman.
She gets up to begin her break, when her communicator activated. She took it from her belt, and held it up to her mouth, "Responding."
"There seems to be a breach at the North-East exit. Could you check it out?"
"Alright." Sarah typed onto the keyboard of the computer, and brought up the cameras at the North-East Sector of the facility. Everything is so dark, she can barely make out anything-
"Hhh!" She spotted a four dark figures scurrying down a hallway on one of the monitors. She retyped on the keyboard, and brought up more of the angles from a handful of cameras. The burglars could be seen appearing, running into random screens. She picked up her walkie, and pressed the button. = "..."
"... It's nothing." Sarah said as she spotted the figures in another monitor, "I don't see anything out of the ordinary."
", it was probably just a glitch or something.'ll keep you posted.="
"Over and out..." Sarah said before she put the communicator back on her belt. She groaned a bit as she put her hands on her head and watched as the four dark intruders make their way through the maze of the Agency. "I hope they're what I think they are..." She mumbled. Every fiber of her being is telling her to follow protocol, and report this new development, "... Ahhhh jeeez..." She nervously moaned. If she lets this slide, and gets caught, she'll lose a LOT more than just her job...
"Dammit, just please make this quick..."
The four intruders jogged down each dark hallway. They stopped to give OO70 a moment to catch her breath. Meds came over to her to make sure she is all right, bringing up her ski mask just over her mouth to give her some air.
"Which way, Pink?" J-Man asked as he looked to the one who is leading them. Pink holds her hands out, her eyes closed as she focused out on sensing the trace of their target.
"... I feel heem."
"Aight. You ready, OO70?"
"Aye," She panted. Meds helped her up, and they continued on.
*Click-CHK* The lock opened to the hairpin, and the four of them quickly entered. They looked as light in the tank illuminated the contents - a paled blue and silver merman curled up at the bottom of the tank, with fish bones littering the tank.
"There he is." J-Man said. Meds came up to the tank, and gasped as she looked. Merrick's body seemed so... Ravaged. A lot of scales are scattered along with the fish bones. The majority of his tail is a little flayed, with his tailfin half butchered, torn apart, "Aw man... What did they do to you, man..."
"This is so awful..." Meds whimpered as her eyes watered up.
"Aight," J-Man walked up to the tank, and knocked on the glass a few times.
"Stop that!" OO70 said.
"Wut? I'm bein careful."
"Fish don't like tat, Shon!"
"He gotta know we here, lady." J-Man muttered. He slapped the tank a few more times, before Merrick's arm moved, and his fist SLAMMED against the glass, creating a very loud THUD. They jumped as Merrick's arm went back down.
"Humans..." Merrick growled, "Is it not enough they have caused me pain? Now they disrupt slumber..." He flinched as the humans persisted on knocking on the tank. "By the DEPTHS that's annoying!!"
Then, the knocking started to go into the rhythm of 'Under The Sea' from Little Mermaid. He growled as he swam up, his tail unfurling and undulating up. He turned his gaze to where he was just sleeping, and saw humans here that he does not recognize - if they're even humans! They look like creatures born of shadows!
One of them pulled up the blackness from his head, and showed a face with dark skin, brown eyes, and thick lips.
Merrick gasped as he swam down, his eyes widening in shock. "Jamal!" Another one of the dark creatures came up beside him, and pulled up the darkness from her face, revealing a very fair complexion and narrow eyes, "Yuri!" They both waved to him as he started to cry.
Merrick pressed his palms against the glass, whimpering and moaning in his merfolk sounds.
"Lord, have mercy..." OO70 gasped as she saw the aquatic creature push against the glass. A real live merman... He looks so tattered and damaged. Who would do such a thing to a beautiful creature?
J-Man put his ski mask back on. Merrick swam to the side, and patted his hand onto the closed hatch. "Ah man..." J-Man commented as he looked at Merrick's hand. They're supposed to be webbed, but it looks like someone had severed all of the webbing on both of his hands, "I think this is where he gets out." He walked around, and felt at the hatch, and at the lock.
OO70 came up with her trusty hairpin, and fiddled with it, "Eghh..." She growled. The pin won't go into the metal tab. After about 5 minutes of trying, she shook her head, "No use, hairpins don't work on these." She said.
"Aight. Pink," J-Man turned to the other person, "You got this?"
"Yees" Pink said as she came up to the hatch while taking off one of her black gloves, and held two fingers straight, aimed at the little lock. A sharp light shot from her fingertips, and seared at the lock like a small blowtorch. Merrick swam to the middle of the tank to keep out of the way, while OO70 went to the door, and peered out of it.
Meds went over to the large mechanism between the full tank, and the empty tank. She hesitated as she looked over the machine, "What the heck IS this thing??" J-Man walked to the thick wheel. He put his hands on it, and grunted as he tried to turn it.
"HRRRRRGGGGG" It wouldn't budge. J-Man tried it in both directions, but it still won't move, "Gah, dammit." Meds walked to the other tank, which is completely dry and empty.
"... I think this tank keeps the water from there..." She said as she pointed to the tank Merrick is occupying, "If anything I'm thinking it right, this is probably what they kept him in while they..." Meds shook her head, "And this thing..." She indicated the machine, "Filters the water..."
"Any shot we get it up and running?" J-Man asked.
"No clue," Meds replied, "This looks so complicated... Like the controls of an airplane or something."
"Gurl, ain't you used to this kinda tech? Don't they have this stuff at he uh..." He Fumbled for the words, "School?"
"Nothing like this." Meds said.
"Aight. Pink?" He asked.
"Ees..." Pink looked, and scowled at the lock. The metal is glowing, but shows no signs of melting, "No good."
"Maybe cut the glass?"
"No!" Meds said, "J-Man, that'll just flood everywhere! This is a COVERT operation!"
"What else can we do?"
*SNAP SNAP SNAP SNAP*
OO70 clicked her fingers four times as she strode away from the door.
"Aw shit, hide!"
"What??" Merrick watched as the hour figures ran off to different spots, "No, stop!" He swam around, trying to spot them, "Don't leave! Where are you?!"
"Dammit..." Jacob groaned as he strolled down the hall. He and Daniel have been looking all over the place for his notes, but he can't find so much as a single page.
He sighed as he walked past the door to the tank room, but stopped. He looked, and noticed that the door is slightly ajar.
'That's odd...' He thought to himself. Jacob opened the door, and entered into the tank room. He immediately noticed that the merman is swimming quickly around in his tank, "Huh?" He approached the machine, "What's gotten you all riled up?" He idly asked.
The merman saw him, and glared at him. Merrick swam to the back of the cramped tank, his eyes locked onto the scientist.
Jacob came up to the tank, and looked at the lock. It's completely black, as well as the glass around it. He looked up at the curled up merman, before backing away, and trotting over to the door.
After he left, OO70, Meds, Pink, and J-Man came out of hiding. OO70 returned to her post on keeping watch, while Meds and J-Man went to the machine, and Pink returned to torch the lock.
Erin finished the report on a court order for Nigel, and she placed them into an envelope. She put a stamp onto the corner of it, and wrote in the address. "Now..." Just when she picked up another folder with more paperwork in it, she glanced at one of the monitors that were in this room - almost all of the offices in the Agency has monitors and surveillance. Nigel always had a thing for omnipotence.
"What??" She stood up, and saw that four intruders have entered the tank room! "Oh damn," She scowled as she put the other paperwork away, and stood up. It figures that this office is clear on the other side of the whole building!
"It's no good." Meds said, "This thing needs a password." She finally figured out how to turn on the machine, but is no closer to making it work.
"C'mon, you're smart, gur- Meds!" J-Man said as he kept trying to turn the wheel, "Shouldn't you know this kinda stuff?"
"I don't work here, J-Man. And if I hear a stereotype joke right now, I'm going to slap you." She said. "Pink, any luck?"
"No," Pink said as she held her hand as she tried to cut the sharp flare into the tank itself, against Meds' advice, since the lock doesn't show any signs of melting, "Eet won't go hot." Her hands shook as the prolonged attempts were beginning to put a strain on her.
"Dammit..." J-Man said. He put a hand onto the tank, "Hang in there, kid," He said as Merrick looked at them with begging eyes.
*SNAP SNAP SNAP SNAP*
OO70 clicked her fingers again as she trotted carefully away from the door.
"Are you kidding me?" Meds said as they once again had to hide, making this the fifth time they had to hide.
As soon as they all found hiding places, a security guard walked into the tank room, along with the scientist from before. He strode to the middle of the room, and put his hands on his hips.
"Alright, let's cut the Hide-&-Seek," He said, "We know you're in here. You've broken an entering, and you're trespassing on government property. Come out with your hands up." He ordered. It took a few moments before J-Man, Meds, Pink, and OO70 came out of their hiding places, holding their hands up.
Daniel smirked, "Alright, now relax, I've just always wanted to say that." He walked to the tank, and took a look at the singed lock, "You guys weren't going to get anywhere with this without a key." He turned to the scientist, "Jacob? You wanna..."
"On it." Jacob said as he went to the machine, and began typing in the password.
"Wait," J-Man said, "You helpin?"
"You're not going to arrest us?" Meds asked.
"We're probably going to get in huge trouble for this..." Jacob said as he worked a few of the knobs, "But... It's complicated."
"We didn't sign up for this," Daniel said, "And besides, the boss is getting written up for... A few things he's done here." He adjusted his cap, "You know, we're not supposed to be interfering and all, but I think the guilt was gonna kill us before our boss had a chance anyway."
"What teh fuck kind of place IS tis?!" OO70 asked.
"It's a research facility established and supported by the U.S. Government," Jacob said as he worked a few more switches, "That pretty much gives the higher-ups the idea that they can get away with a lot of things... And they have..." He stepped back, "Ok, you can turn it now."
J-Man took the wheel, and grunted as he finally moved, "Yeah, THERE we go." As he turned it, the machine started to rumble awake. Meds eeped as the contraption got louder.
Merrick looked up as he could feel the water disappear! Could this really be happening?! Is he finally getting out of here?!
"Can't we make this thing quiet?!" She asked.
"No, maintenance already checked it out." Daniel said, "The only to make it quiet is to get a new one."
"Er, you may want to get some towels," Jacob said, "The air pumps are broken too, so there's no other way to dry him."
"We got it handled." Meds said as Pink stood by.
"Stand back. Recently, he's been VERY volatile" Daniel said as he went to the hatch, and inserted the key. He unlocked the door, and pulled it open.
Merrick reached out as he pulled himself. Pink hissed as she drew her fake neon fingernails down his back. Merrick shuddered as water collected and ran off of his body. His injured blue flesh turned peach colored, the mangled fins on his head turned into matted blonde hair. He grunted as they helped him to his feet.
He whimpered as he ran straight for J-Man, and hugged him, "You came!" He sobbed as J-Man hugged him back. Meds came up, and embraced him too. "Please, get us out of here!"
"We workin on that."
"A-And you!" Merrick went over to Pink, and pulled off her ski mask. Merrick sobbed as he smiled, shaking his head, "Never in all of my life have I ever thought I would be glad to see you!"
Belinda grinned and snickered as Merrick cried with joy. He turned around to the other humans.
"Wait," Jacob went to Belinda, "Aren't you..." He blinked, "Do you, by any chance spend a lot of time at the Kele-Kolika Pier?"
"Yees, I do," Belinda said as she nodded.
"We have a file on you too."
Jamal, Yuri, and Belinda said at once.
"We've had a few suspicions on you whether or not you're a mermaid," Jacob said, "We need to get all of you out right now."
"Wait!" Merrick said, "Th-They have Adam too! He's-"
"We know," Yuri said, "We're going to get him out too. Here," Yuri then produced a pair of blue satin boxers, "Put this one real quick."
"Alright, I can take you to him," Daniel said as Merrick bent over, and pulled up the smooth undershorts, "But we need to make it fast." All of them left the tank room in a hurry.
Adam sighed as he curled up on the cot. He can barely sleep anymore... Just thinking about what they've done to Merrick.
Why hasn't anyone stand up for him yet? Sure, that woman stopped that crazy doctor from blowing his mind up with electricity, and she said that they'll be out of here in a week... But why would anyone even think about allowing such madness? How could ANYONE condone this? Is Nigel really this desperate? Anyone in their right mind could figure out what Nigel is trying to do is impossible to achieve in the few years he has left.
He jolted as he heard the lock of his door click. He sat up while the door opened, and gasped as Merrick came rushing in. "Merrick!" Just when he stood up, he gruffed as he felt Merrick embrace him tightly. Adam started to sob as he held onto his lover, just hearing Merrick's soft cries.
"Are you ok?!" Merrick asked through his tears, "I saw them... They put lightning into your body, are you ok!"
"I'm fine, Merrick, I'm fine." Adam croaked as he held tighter.
"Ye FECKIN igiot!" Came a loud, raspy voice, followed by a swipe at Adam's head.
"Ow! Hey!" He staggered, and saw his grandmother, wearing black clothes, and holding a ski mask in her hand, "Gramma?! What are you-"
"When were you going to tell me about HIM, eh?!" She said as her old eyes watered, "And when were ya plannin to tell me you were arrested, eh??" She sobbed a little, "I haven't seen ye for years, and you git yourself in trouble??"
"Gramma, I didn't, I just, it's complicated," Adam stammered before he hugged her.
"When we git home, I'm gonna feckin kill ye, making me so worried."
"We're leaving???" Adam asked, still unable to believe is grandma is here, just out of the blue. He looked over, and saw one of the security guards, a scientist, and three other burglars. The figures in black pulled up their ski masks, and revealed themselves as Jamal, Yuri, and Belinda, "Jamal! Yuri?!" He smiled excitedly, "How did you find us?!"
"No time," Daniel said, "You guys need to go now!" Adam looked at the guard in disbelief.
"Wait, you're actually getting us out?"
"Yes, now we need to MOVE." He said.
As they left, Grandma took out an old black cat cutout, and put it on the cot. Back when she was a teenager to young adult, she used to break into all sorts of places - shops, houses, and the like, and steal various items, leaving behind a black cat calling card. She'd return the items the next day on the doorstep, but it was just the thrill of breaking into houses without ever being caught that she loved. This rescue mission is just like old times.
While Jacob had left to tend to a few loose ends, Daniel quickly escorted Adam holding Merrick's hand, Jamal, Yuri, Belinda, and Grandma to the exit where they came from. Daniel had reported a fake breach on the other side of the building, so no one would disturb them - which went easier than expected, as Sarah didn't question the situation at all.
'Almost there...' Merrick thought as sparkling tears seeped from his eyes, 'This spiraling nightmare... Is almost over...'
"Wait!" Everyone halted as Erin had suddenly ran from the hall with them, blocking the door, "You can't go yet..." She said.
"Erin..." Merrick shook his head as a mixture of anger and sorrow filled his chest. He let go of Adam's hand, and walked to her, his fists clenching.
"I'm sorry to do this, but I-"
"NO!" Merrick said, "I don't know when you started deceiving me... Or if I can ever forgive any human in this dwelling," He told her, his eyes narrowing, "But if you have any sense of honesty and mercy in your heart..." Merrick's throat began to growl again, "Step aside."
"M-Merrick," Adam came up to him, sensing that he's about to do something VERY dangerous.
"If you would let me finish," Erin said, holding up a small box, "I'm sorry to do this, but I can't let you go yet... Without these..." She held the box up to Adam.
"Huh?" He accepted the box, and opened it. He blinked as he saw the contents of the box: The shirt, shorts, socks, and shoes he was wearing when the agents brought him here, along with his belt, wallet, and cellphone.
"And this..." Erin said as she took Merrick's hand, and put back his silver bracelet - the only thing he had when he was abducted, the little trinket Adam bought him on their very first date to the pier. Merrick looked up at her, "I don't blame you if you never forgive me, or anyone here. Everything I did, I did because you don't deserve to be here, or what they put you through. If I had my way, I would have let you go home on Day One. And just know that Nigel is going to answer for everything he's done, and I will NEVER let him do this ever again."
Merrick sniffled as he moved in, and hugged her. "I won't forget..." He cried as he stepped back, "I won't forget what you've done for me..." Whatever humans do, or bow to, whatever they're forced to do, Merrick at least now as a feeling that Erin wasn't completely dishonest.
Daniel opened the door, finding it already unlocked, and let everyone out.
Merrick cried freely as the group ran through the half deserted parking lot, holding Adam's hand tightly. Adam too felt emotional as they quickly made their way in the night. He could barely stand, let alone run, just from feeling the air rushing around him for the first time in weeks! The night sky as NEVER looked more beautiful! The moon is as bright and luminous as ever.
After so long of undergoing possible search entries, pinpointing the mail locations of the video messages, Yuri's worry now can come to an end - Adam is one of her very best friends - they've been together ever since their teen years. She and him have always , and Merrick is like her sassy gay friends that always could carry a conversation - that merman has more in common with her than she ever could have thought.
Despite the escapades that he had to try and ease the uncertainty and fear, and with him and Nick breaking up, Jamal has never felt more alone... Not since his childhood in Los Angeles. His type just lashes out to hide his pain. Merrick was always good to hang and talk openly about personal stuff - naked chatting was always a great few hours. And Adam is more than a signer to vouch for him because of his probation - he's has always been more of a family to him than his own kin ever was.
Though they never quite saw eye-to-eye, Belinda and Merrick can respect each other. Belinda is the only way Merrick is able to make small trips past the shore, as she is able to repel the Capricorn, and he has more than once helped her. The pier was never the same either, without Adam around.
After an entire moon... Adam and Merrick are going home...
Erin and Daniel walk down the hall after the exit had been closed.
"So," Erin said, "What are you going to do once this place closes?"
"Same old same old," He replied, "Probably gonna be a guard else where - heck, I might sign up for the police."
"Me... I'm still not sure." Erin looked around, "This place is likely going to be demolished. I'd hate to see it go to waste..."
"There's enough resources here to do anything, isn't there?" Daniel said, "Why not use it as a warehouse or something?"
"It's not that simple-"
"HOLY SHIT!" Daniel jumped as red lights flashed everywhere.
"What the heck?!" Erin shouted as she turned it around.
"Who turned on the alarm?!" Daniel said.
"I don't know!" Erin yelled, "They must've triggered a line outside!"