Chapter 03: Scavenger Hunt

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The effects of the stimulant Kyra injected into him pulsed through Greg's veins.

He felt alive, alert, and desperately wanted to do things. He felt like he could take on the galaxy and still have room for a marathon. Things had died down since they'd left the security center. They'd had to wait around an agonizingly long time for a pair of security personnel and a technician to show up and make sure nothing else happened to it. In the meantime, other teams had secured all but one of the airlocks and other ways into the base and made sure that there were no Dark Ops survivors via the BioScan.

Greg, Linda, and Carter headed for the final airlock, since it was nearest to them, making conversation as they walked.

"How many people were here before the shit hit the fan?" Greg asked, his eyes constantly shifting around, scanning the hallway, the vents, the shadows, the doors, everywhere for any sign of attack.

"Close to a thousand. Most of them were miners, the rest security guards, techs, custodian workers, medics, a handful of administrative staff. They were a joke. All we've ever really needed was Lynch...and Burne, I guess," Linda replied.

"Burne?" Greg asked.

"Richard Burne. He's head of security. Back at the hangar right now, I think. He's a tough son of a bitch. Like a lot of the mercs out here, he was in the Marines. He was a Staff Sergeant, I think, before he scrubbed out. He lost a squad in some godawful conflict. He was the sole survivor. They honorably discharged him...it was political, I think. Someone was trying to save their own ass and sacrificed his." She shrugged.

Greg nodded. The more he heard about the Marines, the government, and SI, the more it seemed it was all politics. They came to a turn in the corridor and took it. Up ahead was the airlock, what Carter referred to as the north exit. Although things like south and north weren't very reliable on an airless moon orbiting a dead world.

They spent a few moments opening it up, checking it out, and then Linda put a security lockdown on the external door. Greg waited impatiently, tapping his feet, cracking his knuckles, playing with the safety on his gun.

"You're pretty nervous," Carter murmured.

"Not nervous. I'm alert," Greg replied succinctly.

Carter shrugged. A moment later, Linda seemed satisfied with her lock, came back out, shut the interior door, and put a lock on it.

Greg heaved a sigh.

"Oh, good lord, Bishop, I'll be done in a minute," she said.

Greg said nothing, but tried to control himself. Finally, she finished up. Carter agreed to stay behind and guard the door. Linda led Greg back through the installation, towards the hangar headquarters.

"We have so much do to," he said.

"Yeah, I imagine so. Not even sure where to begin," Linda replied.

"Powell will tell us. He's good with things like lists and organization."

"Hope so. We've got a hell of a lot on our plate."

They came back to the hangar, which was abuzz with all manner of activity. He spied Lynch and Mike, standing with Kyra, Powell, and Campbell, as well as another man that Greg assumed must be Burne. He was short but stocky, as though he had built up a great deal of muscle in an attempt to compensate for not making it past five and a half feet. As Greg and Linda approached, his gaze snapped over and he regarded Greg with sharp blue eyes that were so honed and alight with intelligence they looked like they were neon implants.

"Ah, Greg, Linda, you're back," Mike said amicably.

"The airlock is secure," Linda reported.

"Good. Fantastic," Lynch replied, glancing back from where she stood, hovering over Powell's chair. Powell was currently planted firmly in front of a trio of terminals.

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