Jacob pounded the last integer into the keypad and was rewarded with the click and hiss of the hatch opening. He turned to look up at Prudence as she came back around the corner, and the sight wrenched his heart. Her heaving bosom certainly would have been distracting in other circumstances, but the rest of her was too alarming not to take a priority. Her pale skin was flushed, her freckles standing out like red stars. Even the lines about her eyes were red from the onset of weeping. It was all he could not to rush to her and give what comfort as he may. As she told him their ruse worked, he smiled ruefully while chiding himself. "I think you missed your calling, Pru. You should have been an actress," he murmured lovingly.
Gesturing to the hatch, he motioned for her to go first. It was a small dark square near the floor of the corridor, perhaps three feet across in both height and width. A dim red light receded into the dim shadows. It would be a tight fit for them both. "You go first. Just follow the red lights straight on for a bit until you get to an intersection, then take the first right turn. It should open up a bit just after that, and we can get our bearings. I'll seal the hatch behind us. Once we're in, there's no way they can track us. The further in we go, the further we'll be from the main environmental vents. That means that it will get colder as we go."
As he spoke, he became aware of a fierce thudding noise that seemed to come from all about. There was a rhythm to it, steady but fast and strong. He was so startled by the noise that he was about to ask her if she heard it as well, when it dawned on him that it was his own heart. Every pulse was a jolt in his chest. He could even hear it within his ears. Jacob had never truly been afraid before, never so frightened as to fall into inaction. Experiencing the terror now of what fates awaited them if caught, he began to sweat slightly. Jail for him, with possible reconditioning. She would never get out of the labs; it would no longer be a matter of human rights of one individual but the safety and health of the public, that's what Oberhall and those like him would argue. In giving up his life for Prudence, he also gave up any influence or power he might have had in that life.
Looking at her now, beautiful if tearful, he steeled himself. Medical teams could be around the corner at any moment, but Jacob decided there should be time for another kiss... Just in case it was the last one.