Chapter 09: Lockout

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"Hold on, hold on...explain this situation to me again." Greg massaged his temples.

Campbell cut in. "Okay, look, it's really simple. They locked the bridge down. And, well, you know Dark Ops, they can't seem to do something without making it fucking complicated. The only way to override the emergency lockdown they've initiated is to go to five separate terminals and initiate a manual override. Of course that's not enough, obviously, because once that's finished, two people have to be at two separate terminals and activate the final override sequence at the exact same time. So, like I said, complicated."

"Oh, God..." Greg moaned.

"It gets better." Here, Campbell sounded embarrassed. "We shouldn't use the suits of armor."

"What?! We just killed a fucking Berserker to get to this DNA processor," Kyra snapped.

"I know, I know, I'm sorry. Dark Ops can remotely shut down the suits or even overload them, killing the occupant."

"Why didn't you mention this before?" Greg roared.

"I'm sorry. I forgot, okay? It just...slipped my mind."

"You know, Graves showed up, looking for me. Did you send us here, Campbell? Send us here to die?"

"What? No. Cage...stop looking at me like that."

Cage came onto the line. "Should I kill him?"

Greg considered it for a long moment. It could be a coincidence, and Campbell was providing them with useful information now. That could just be a simple ploy, give with one hand and take with the other. Campbell might be a bit on the slow side...or he might just be playing some kind of sick game.


"No. Keep him alive. For now. Can't believe I fucking wasted all this time coming down here. We could still be together," Greg muttered.

"It's actually better this way." Powell's voice came over the connection. "Your area of the ship holds two of the manual release terminals. We're going to coordinate, hit these terminals, then meet up and time it right for the final digital dual-release override. Then we'll meet at the bridge. It shouldn't take too long."

"Fine, fair enough. Give us some directions."

"There should be a terminal in the room with you, by the main doors. I'm forwarding a map of where you'll need to go, in order. Try to find an infopad, there should be some in that room. Download the map to the infopad, but make sure you switch the wireless network adapter off, so you can't be tracked. Got it?"

"Got it."

They spent several moments hunting through storage cabinets before coming up with an empty infopad. Kyra was the most technologically intelligent among the three, so she took the pad and downloaded the data from the terminal. While she worked, Greg massaged his temples again. His headache was back. He seemed to be having a lot of them since he woke up in that ship. Had he always suffered from headaches or were they the result of the cure? Or more likely the result of all the head trauma he'd encountered so far?

"You okay?" Holt asked.

"Yeah...fine. Just a damned headache. Stress, tension, I guess. I swear to fuck, it's always something."

Holt chuckled. "That's usually how it goes. I remember having similar problems down in the mines. As if busting ass drilling out rock all day wasn't hard enough, there was always equipment breaking down or someone calling in sick or some such bullshit. Malfunctions, mistakes, and fuck-ups. That's life, I guess. Nothing ever seems to go the way it's suppose to. My best advice is to make yourself flexible, go with the flow. Otherwise, you'll end up breaking when too much pressure is put on you."

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