Chapter 14: Back Into Hell

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"I can't believe we fucking have to go back over there," Campbell muttered miserably.

"We'll be fine," Greg replied.

Campbell shook his head. "Sure we will."

They came into one of two hangars aboard the ship. Greg realized he still didn't know the name of the vessel they were on. Not that it mattered. Powell assured him that there was a compliment of fully functional jump ships still in their metal nests, waiting for use. Sure enough, Greg spied half a dozen of them, lined up, ready to go.

"Does anyone actually know how to fly?" he asked, suddenly realizing that Powell had been the one in the pilot's chair all this time.

"I can," Campbell said.

"Me too, if it comes to it," Billings replied.

"You'll fly us over, Billings," Greg said.

Campbell sighed heavily. "Are you ever going to trust me?"

"You've been in the group for like twelve hours. Besides, there have been too many coincidences. I'm still not entirely convinced you're on our side," Greg replied.

"So, why do you keep me around?" Campbell asked after a moment.

"Mainly for someone to trip if I need to run away from something big and nasty."

"You're a real bastard."

They lowered the back ramp of the ship and climbed aboard after making sure nothing lethal waited for them. Billings moved ahead into the cockpit and settled into the pilot's seat. Campbell sat in the far corner of the cabin and stared glumly at the floor. Greg secured the back ramp and then sat down next to Kyra.

"So, do we have any idea where this thing actually is?" Greg asked.

Kyra held up an infopad. "Yes. Powell uploaded the information here. I suggest we memorize it in case we lose this thing."

The ship shuddered around them as Billings freed it from its cradle and began to edge it forward into the airlock. Greg studied the data, trying to take his mind off the fact that he was going to a place he'd been specifically warned not to come back to. The Anubis was a death ship now, likely more than it had been before. How much worse was it at this point? Nearly eight hours had gone by. How fast could Erebus work? What hell awaited them?

Greg focused on the details. They'd land in a hangar nearest the cargo bay they needed. Unfortunately, several of the hangars aboard the Anubis registered as atmospherically ruptured and environmentally unstable. The cargo bay was nestled deep in the heart of the ship. From a simple perspective, it should be as easy as landing, walking to the cargo bay in question, retrieving the spare part, and then walking back to the ship.

Then they'd leave, and that would be that.

Of course, there was any and all manner of living nightmare fuel in between them and their intended target.

Greg heaved a sigh and, after memorizing the pertinent data, opted to stare out the window at the stars drifting by.

* * *

"Oh hell, I think we've got a welcoming party," Billings announced.

They proceeded to land in the hangar now, coming out of one of the many airlocks. Greg stood and hurried forward, standing behind Billings in the cockpit, staring through the front windows. A welcoming party was putting it mildly: there was a full-blown reception committee. Greg peered out into the broad expanse of hangar, frowning intensely at the several dozen Undead that were milling about, just beginning to take notice of them.

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