Chapter 03: Breakout

Start from the beginning

Someone shouted and banged on metal. It jarred Greg from his brief reflection and he spun, seeing that Thomas had come through with his promise. Well, one of his promises. The single door to the squalid medical bay had snapped shut and sealed against unwanted visitors.

Time to go.

Movement behind him. The first man struggled to recover. Greg saw blood inside the faceplate and realized he must've hit it harder than he thought. Moving quickly, adrenaline, need for survival, and maybe a bit of revenge fueled him then. He saw a scalpel on a nearby counter, grabbed it, and jabbed it roughly into the neck of the surviving med-tech. The man let out a feeble cry, clawing weakly at the scalpel.

Greg drove it deeper and shoved the man onto the deck, blood spraying his hand. He turned and knelt by the second man, ignoring the guard on the other side of the door, still beating his fists against the metal in mute frustration. He pulled off the helmet, prepared to grab the communications unit inside, and hesitated. A pair of pale, empty blue eyes stared up at him. A narrow ribbon of deep red blood ran from a slack mouth. When Greg had killed this man, he'd been faceless, silent, a robot, hidden behind his mask.

Seeing his face rendered him human. Greg shivered.

"What's taking so long?" Thomas's voice was soft yet urgent.

"Just give me a fucking minute," Greg snapped.

"We don't have a minute. They're overriding the lockout."

Greg tore the comms unit loose from the helmet and fitted it snugly into his ear. He glanced up at the overhead camera, where Thomas looked down on him and talked to him. He resisted the urge to flip it off once more.

"Good." Thomas's voice now came only from the comms unit. "Now climb. Do you see the vent cover?"

Greg saw it. Unlike the vent in his cell, the rest of the ship was equipped with normal and accessible ventilation grates. He hopped up on a nearby counter and briefly considered taking a weapon of some kind, then figured he'd just end up stabbing himself while he was crawling through the vents. He grabbed the grate, hit the access button and hauled himself inside. As soon as his feet cleared the hole, Thomas remotely closed the vent behind him.

"Where am I going?" Greg asked.

This was all part of the plan Thomas had spent an hour laying out last night. There were many details, and Greg had done his best to remember it all, but here and now in a red-lit vent with two deaths behind him and men out for his blood, he found that the adrenaline coursing through his veins was drowning out his memories.

"Straight ahead for fifty meters. Don't worry, I'll guide you. We need to do this right, and we need to do it fast. If we don't, if this attempt fails, there will be no others, and it will be hell for you and I, my friend," Thomas replied.

Greg said nothing. Instead he crawled on his hands and knees. The vents were, he found, big enough for a man. It seemed that Dark Ops had opted to put access to a great deal of secondary sub-systems tucked away in the ventilation shafts. Every now and then he passed little toolkits mounted on the walls, like metal and plastic mollusks. Greg passed them without a second glance, hurrying towards his destination.

Occasionally, he'd pass another vent grate. They usually showed vacant corridors or empty medical bays, but sometimes he heard terse voices. Somewhere, an alarm cycled continuously. Greg paused once, right as he neared the end of his fifty-meter crawl, and heard an upset voice close by. He realized that one of the grates, built overhead into the ceiling of the vent he was crawling around in, gave him a view up into someone's office.

Necropolis 2: EnduranceRead this story for FREE!