Chapter 13: Bits & Pieces

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The bridge looked less like a bridge and more like a refugee camp after a particularly brutal assault by an army of mercenary raiders. Greg surveyed the area, looking up from the workstation on the second story where he'd set up and laid his personal arsenal out. Powell, still glued to the captain's seat, stared intently into the screen before him, working the keyboard with fluid, dexterous fingers. Cage watched both doors. He'd managed to scavenge a sniper rifle from somewhere. Greg thought it wouldn't be much use inside of a spaceship, but, then again, the corridor down the middle of the vessel was quite a long one.

Cage was an exceptional shot.

Campbell and Billings organized the supplies. They'd already rolled out the bedrolls, just in case anyone found time to sleep, and now they'd set up a makeshift kitchen on one of the abandoned workstations. Kyra had taken up the task of figuring who was where on the ship, and coming up with their plan of attack.

Greg slipped a fresh magazine into his pistol and secured in its holster. He checked out all the spare mags and then fitted them into their appropriate pockets. One of the soldiers had had a pack of cigarettes on him and a gunmetal gray lighter with a flip-top on it. The pack was a new brand: Solar Flares. The name was stenciled across the side in bright neon orange and the front featured a stylized sun with a saw-edged flame whipping away from it. He currently puffed on one, and found the taste pleasant.

"All right, I've got a rough idea of what to do, gather round, boys," Kyra called.

Greg finished up, slapped a fresh magazine into his rifle and slung it over his shoulder. He pocketed the cigs and lighter, and then headed down the stairs to the first floor. Everyone but Powell gathered around the workstation where Kyra sat.

"What's happening?" Billings asked.

"All of the Dark Ops survivors on the ship have holed up in the engine room. Undead are wandering all over the ship...though there aren't as many of them as we'd originally feared. Maybe just a couple dozen."

"Wait, do they show up on BioScan?" Greg asked.

"Yes. They do now. Apparently, one of the many things Dark Ops has been doing with their research was to find a way to make them show up on the scans. Unfortunately, there's still no way to tell the difference. So it could be a couple of dozen zombies or a couple of dozen Berserkers. I think we should clear the ship out, but hit up the engine room first. There are five ways into that compartment. One of them is big and obvious, the other four are smaller openings that will give you a good view of the area. Obviously, we need to split up, hit all four simultaneously and take them out. Once they're subdued, we preform a sweep and clear out the survivors." Kyra sat back.

"You'd make a good Sergeant, I think," Billings said.

Kyra laughed grimly. "A bit late for that now, don't you think?"

"Yeah, probably."

"So, who's going to stay and watch Powell?" Greg asked.

"Not Campbell," Billings said.

"What? Why?" Campbell replied.

"Because we don't trust you. Not Cage, either, he's too useful for an assault," Greg said.

"Thanks," Cage murmured, though Greg couldn't tell if he was being serious or not.

"I'm not doing it, I did it last time," Kyra said.

"Well I can't do it, I'm the protagonist," Greg said.

They all stared at him. He shifted uncomfortably. "No one gets it?"

"I'll do it," Billings said. "Tired, anyway. Could do with a break."

With that, they headed back out into the main corridor.

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