Chapter 16: Bloods, Bullets, & Bombs

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"Where's Burne?"

That was the first thing Greg heard as he emerged in the hangar bay. He noted that the usual bustle of activity that typically occupied it had thinned out.

"Dead," he replied.

Lynch was just finishing up a meal. Now she stood. At the sound of his voice, Kyra turned and abandoned whatever work she was doing. For a moment, just a moment, he forgot about everything as he wrapped Kyra in a hug and kissed her deeply.

"Are you about done?" Lynch asked after a moment.

"Yeah," Greg managed, pulling away from Kyra. "I'm here. What's going on?"

"First of all, what the hell happened up there? Whatever you did, you really kicked the spider's nest. The Augmented is raining down hell on Dark Ops," Lynch replied.

Greg spent the next few minutes detailing the highlights of their adventures aboard the Isis. Kyra and even Powell seemed interested and then, to varying degrees, horrified when Cage came up. Greg was still processing the fact that Cage had been turned, and had to be killed. By the time he summed it all up, Lynch seemed impatient.

"Well...good job. We've got to get moving. We're on the home stretch, thank God. We'll take the part you recovered and install it in the ship. That means we have everything we need to get that fucker going. Now, with the Augmented and Undead keeping Dark Ops busy, we decided to enact our plan of attack. Before everything went to shit, we'd been working on a new tunnel. It ran pretty close to an underground warehouse directly below where Dark Ops is presently set up. We want to bomb our way in," Lynch explained.

"That's where everyone is?" Greg asked.

"For the most part. There's a few other points of entry. We're making this a multi-pronged attack. Unfortunately, they're running into a lot of resistance. And since you seem to be so good at getting shit done, I want you and your friends to take Mike and Linda down into the tunnels. We're planning on planting a bomb right in the middle of Dark Ops HQ for a big finish. Unfortunately, I can't raise the team carrying it.

"Mike knows their last known location and will guide you there. When you secure the bomb, I want you to press on and help my men break through that mining tunnel. Do you have all that?"

"Yep, I got it," Greg replied.

He tried not to let the tiredness show in his voice. They were so close now. He could practically taste freedom and an escape from this hellish system. He, Kyra, and Campbell broke away from the group and moved over to the makeshift armory. As they replenished their depleted arsenals, Greg noticed Kyra had adopted one of the reinforced mining suits.

"What made you get one of these?" he asked.

"After the story you told about being deep underground, I figured these things must be worth their salt. So I grabbed one," Kyra replied.

"You wear it well."

Kyra started laughing. "You're really bad at flirting."

"No way," Greg replied.

"I'm afraid so. It's something you'll have to work on."

Distantly, something exploded. Greg sighed. "I hate my job."

"We're getting paid for this?" Campbell asked.

Greg sighed again and finished grabbing his gear. He selected a rifle and a fresh surge of adrenaline spread through him as he prepared himself once more for battle. Once they were ready, the trio broke away from the armory and moved over to the door. Greg wanted to take at least a small break, get a drink of water, or just sit down for five minutes.

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