"Are you sure?" Nate asked.
They were bouncing their way back across the uneven, frozen terrain of the Charon Region, just a few minutes out from Frost Station.
"Of course not," Marshall replied, desperation showing through in his voice. "But-"
"Better safe than sorry," Laura finished.
The unconscious survivor had been loaded into the back, in the remaining seat, and buckled in next to Nate. Marshall was driving as fast as safety would allow. Okay, honestly, probably faster. He couldn't get the thought out of his head.
"What happened to that comms relay...how easy could it happen to us?" he asked. "We have ten fucking bodies in that infirmary. Ten. How many were bitten? How many might suddenly come back to life?" he pressed.
"I don't know, I mean...they were pretty dead. And it took that guy like an hour...shit, we don't know anything," Laura said. "Fuck, we probably should have gotten the power up and running, dug into their databases. Maybe they knew more."
"We don't have time, at least not right now," Marshall replied. He noticed that the weather was getting worse, a lot worse. The winds were up to forty miles an hour and they seemed to be rising. What was worse, it was getting colder.
He'd forgotten to ask Paul about the weather and now they might be paying for it. Storms in the northern reaches of Dis could get particularly brutal. Marshall pushed the jeep a little further, unable to think of anything but his outpost in flames.
A moment later, the navigation screen beeped. They were nearly there. After another moment, the outline of the structure appeared. Marshall hit the access button to open the garage door. He could see no flames, no great pillar of smoke rising into the dead gray sky, but it only marginally eased his tension.
He stared into the garage as he nosed the jeep into it. No one there, not that he expected anyone. He killed the engine as soon as they were in place and stepped out, listening intently for signs of trouble, his heart thundering in his ears. He heard the soft hum of power from the base, the quiet whisper of heat, the shrieking of the winds-
A gunshot. Then two more. A fourth.
Marshall tore his pistol from its place and took off. He could hear the others behind him. He made his way through the garage, sprinted down the corridor, past the storage rooms and just caught sight of Andrea opening the door from her greenhouse, peering out apprehensively. He ignored her, bursting into the recreational room.
Someone screamed. Another gunshot.
Marshall ran on, bolting into the corridor just outside the infirmary. He saw figures standing just beyond the glass windows. Viktor. Alice. Viktor was holding a pistol, Alice had backed up against her desk. Marshall opened the door and Viktor swung the pistol around to face him. Marshall froze, then relief flooded Viktor's face.
"I can't tell you how good it is to see you," Viktor said, his voice shaky.
Nate came into the room and looked around, breathless and silent.
Marshall surveyed the area. Five corpses now lay on the floor, a hole in each of their heads. Darkish blood oozed slowly out onto the white-tiled floor of the infirmary. The reek of rotten meat and the acrid smell of gunpowder was thick in the air.
"Jesus," Marshall whispered.
Then his eyes fell on another figure lying on the floor. Someone who wasn't supposed to be dead. Alice seemed to notice this at the same time and rushed forward.
YOU ARE READING
Dead Ice (A Shadow Wars Companion)Horror
A companion novella to The Shadow Wars. In the farthest reaches of space lies an isolated mining planet called Dis: on the way to nowhere and in the middle of nowhere, it is of little importance to anyone but those occupying it. In the polar regions...