Chapter 23: Solitude

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The next day started slow, but picked up as it went on.

Greg awoke enveloped in a cocoon of warmth and peace, wrapped in the blankets with Kyra pressed against him. For a long while, he didn't want to move. How long had it been since he'd been able to simply relax? Too long. It felt like decades. He spent a moment going over his memories and was shocked to discover roughly two weeks had passed since he'd woken up in that crimson tomb. It felt all wrong. It felt like eras had transpired.

Kyra shifted beside him.

He hated to wake her, to move, but he knew that they should probably get going. He unraveled the blankets and Kyra made unhappy sounds.

"No, it's cold," she mumbled.

"Come on. We should really get to a shower, and some breakfast." Greg pushed himself up, looking down at her.

She opened her eyes slowly. They must have been asleep for quite awhile. Greg wasn't sure how long, but still he was bone-deep weary.

"Fine, but I want to do it in the shower," she said.

Greg laughed. How could he say no to that?

* * *

Breakfast was pleasant. Everyone but Cage was there.

"He's already come and gone." Billings pushed his plate back. It turned out Kauffman was a great cook, and was all too happy to put the base's healthy supply of bacon, eggs, and other assorted breakfast items to good use.

"What's he doing?" Greg asked.

"Something with the radio. I think he's tapping into Dark Ops."

Greg felt a little guilty for sleeping in, especially considering he'd been laid up at that Dark Ops facility for days while Cage, Kyra, and the others had busted ass, figuring a way to get him out. In fact, that notion nagged at him.

"I've been wondering...how did you guys get me out of that facility?"

Billings chuckled. "Powell. He's a lot smarter than he looks, and he already looks pretty damn smart."

Powell didn't say a word, just continued staring at the infopad that seemed surgically attached to his hand. He paused once in awhile to drink from a glass of milk or eat from a plate scattered with bits of bacon and scrambled eggs soaked in hot sauce.

"He hacked their systems from the surface. We infiltrated and planted some bombs. Powell released the Undead from their cages and threw the local network into disarray. That and well, a lotta luck," Billings explained.

Greg thought on this as he stared at his breakfast. He'd requested an over-easy egg, a couple of extra crispy strips of bacon, and a heap of corned beef hash. It was all fantastic. He wondered why this base came equipped with more genuine food while the others hadn't. Kyra sat next to him, digging into her own plate.

"I see you two finally stopped beating around the bush." Billings lit up a cigar.

"I guess so." Greg was unsure of what to say.

"Yeah, finally. We would have sooner if someone didn't keep interrupting us." Kyra gave Billings a pointed look.

Billings shrugged. "Well, you know, we have important things to do. Saving people, killing zombies, whatnot."

Greg decided it was a good time to get to work. He finished up, put his plate in the sink, and left the mess hall with Kyra right alongside him. Freshly showered, in a new uniform, with a hot meal inside him and a long sleep, Greg felt really good. He suspected his recent interactions with Kyra had played a large role in these feelings, as well.

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