Chapter 06: Tension

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By the time they'd finished rushing through the underground tunnel network back to headquarters, Greg had come to learn that the situation was much worse than they thought. The Augmented hadn't just gotten past their defenses, they'd shut down their defenses, and then attacked. Suddenly, the prospect of survival seemed a lot less certain.

Greg made sure to stock up on ammo and snatch a rifle to compliment his arsenal before scurrying up a nearby ladder with Kyra and Campbell close in tow. Overhead, he heard the brutal sounds of conflict in progress: gunfire, the screams of the dying, hysterically shouted orders, an occasional explosion.

He reached the hatch and popped it open, poking his head cautiously out when it seemed that there were no immediate threats nearby. The hatch led to a small machine shop. Greg hauled himself out, then turned and offered helping hands to Kyra and Campbell. He only caught a quick glance of tabletops scattered with spare parts and greasy, abandoned tools before making for the door and hitting the access button.

In a corridor beyond, he managed to catch sight of a trio of security officers falling back, beating a hasty retreat as they fired at whatever chased them. Greg waited for the perfect moment, then, as the first enemy came into view of the door, he leveled his shotgun and fired, blowing the thing completely off its feet.

Another one came into view and Greg blew its head clean off. From the doorway, he helped the security officers kill off another two that had given chase. They were Drones, he saw, only much more advanced than the stilted, rickety things he'd run into on the Anubis. These half-machine monstrosities were built sturdier, walked smoother, and operated on a much more competent level than their fore-bearers.

Greg, Kyra, and Campbell slipped out into the corridor after making sure it was clear. They hurried over to the security officers.

"What the hell is happening?" Greg asked as he fed more shells into his shotgun.

"Chaos," one of them replied, breathing heavily. "Everything was quiet, then, all of a sudden, the things were coming in through the airlocks. Lockdowns, drone guns, scanning equipment, all of it just went dead. We need to get to the command center."

"Lead the way," Greg said.

The group hurried down the corridor to a closed door at the end. One of the guards opened it while another waited at the middle, weapon at ready. Even before the door finished opening, a thin, black barrel stuck in and fired. Suddenly, half the guard's head was missing and his corpse slumped to the floor.

Greg shouldered his shotgun and fired, blowing a fist-sized hole through the chest of a Drone that had lain in wait on the other side of the door. Another popped in, firing, its face blank and emotionless, glistening steel and circuitry covering half its body. One of the security guards shot it twice in the head and a third time in the mouth for good measure. Beyond the door was another corridor wreathed in chaos.

To his left and right Greg spied battlefields. There were easily a couple dozen Drones swarming the area. He could see the entrance to the main hangar where the bulk of their important equipment resided far down to his right and started towards it. They needed to make sure that remained safe above all else.

Greg reached the battle first. There was nowhere to hide, nowhere to find cover, nothing to do but point and shoot. He put his shotgun to the back of a Drone's head and fired, watching the skull vaporize in a plume of red gore and sparks. Even before that body finished falling, he swung the barrel around in a tight arc and fired again. Blowing the arm off another and sending it spinning and sprawling to the floor.

He heard the others add their own gunfire to the mix. Between his squad and the handful of survivors on the other side, standing in the opening where the corridor ended and the hangar began, they managed to wipe out the rest of the Drones in a few moments. Greg left the two security personnel he'd found with the others to secure the area, and then took Kyra and Campbell into the hangar itself, which still seemed secure.

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