The light in the lab was dim, as always. Shaw's footsteps resounded against the walls of metal and concrete, immediately alerting the lab's only other human occupant to his presence.
"Why, Shaw," the mad doctor cackled, lifting his masked face from a rather gruesome operation he was performing, "It is a pleasure to see you again. How are you on this fine morning?"
He suddenly found a wide, impossibly strong hand clutching his throat. He let out a choked squawk as he was lifted into the air.
"Tell me, Novocain," Shaw growled, "have you finished the virus yet?"
Novocain barely managed to nod slowly.
"Good. Get me the most stable sample, then get out of the mansion. You have one hour to run before I send Earl after you."
Shaw released his grip, and the doctor fell to his knees gasping and sputtering for air. He scrambled for a small vial and handed it to Shaw. A piece of tape with the letters "HFEBV" scrawled across it in marker was plastered to the side. Shaw grinned and held the vial up to the light, then pocketed it and looked down at his watch.
"Fifty-nine minutes and counting, doctor. I would get moving if I were you."
Novocain got to his feet as quickly as he could and sprinted to an elevator. The muzak that played through a speaker in the ceiling was deceptively calm, and he would've smiled to himself if it weren't for his current predicament; it was he who had installed that very feature.
A minute later, the doors opened again, and Novocain took off on his nimble legs. It was only then that he remembered the Nitroids that he had stashed in his coat pocket, but he quickly banished the thought. With the number of soldiers Shaw had under his whim and the injuries that came with the augmentation, the downsides to taking the super-steroid would far outweigh the benefits. His electricity powers wouldn't do much good, either.
He passed Earl on his way out the door. The Reptilian flashed him a grin that belonged on the face of a psychotic killer about to pounce on his next victim. Nonetheless, he kept running.
It was only when the mansion was out of his sight that he paused and panted heavily. He would need a way to get out of the city, and fast.
Meanwhile, back at the mansion, Earl checked his watch. Forty-eight minutes. This was going to be fun.