Chapter 19: Orbital Sonata

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While the power and most of the systems inside the headquarters had failed, the technology within the jump ship Greg had once ridden down to the surface of the moon a million years ago still worked just fine.

They ran a quick BioScan of the area and confirmed their fears: they were the last four living people within the confines of the now two structures that remained. There was no reason to stay behind. After picking through the remains of the battle that had stricken the hangar and gathering whatever weapons and supplies they could, the quartet of survivors got onboard the ship and began warming it up.

"Where's he going? To the Isis?" Greg asked.

"No," Mike replied, seated in the cockpit, looking over the controls.

Kyra and Campbell were in the back, prepping their gear for war. Greg felt a cold hatred streaming through him. It made his vision clear, banished his lethargy and acted as a lens through which he focused with perfect clarity.

He was going to kill Powell.

There was no other way around it.

"Then where?"

"The abandoned space station. It's in orbit between the moon and the planet. I don't know what he's doing there, but the four ships under Augmented control are following. We should be able to beat them there by a little bit. They're going slow, for some reason."

"Blowing the engines must've fucked something up for Erebus," Greg surmised after a moment. A soft chime filled the cockpit.

"Okay, the ship's gone through its warm-up sequence," Mike murmured.

Greg thought he was in shock. They all were, he supposed. Greg nodded and left him to it, slipping back into the main cabin with the others. The jump ship began to vibrate and rumble gently as it lifted off from the deck, making for the airlock that would admit it to the exterior of the moon and ultimately to their destination.

"I just can't figure why he'd do it, but I didn't really know the guy," Campbell said as he checked out his rifle.

"I guess none of us did," Greg murmured, taking a seat. "We met back on Dis. He was always pretty stoic, quiet, I don't know. Billings said he might have been mildly obsessive-compulsive. Erebus kept making me offers, that's why he cut my fucking arm off and gave me this new one. Maybe Erebus made him a deal and Powell thought it sounded like a good idea. Maybe he decided the odds of success just weren't in our favor."

"I wonder when he turned," Campbell murmured.

"Who gives a shit?" Kyra's voice was low and angry.

"The supply ship," Greg said suddenly. They both looked up at him. "We left him and Cage on that supply ship. He got out...but Cage didn't. Could the deal have been made then?"

"It doesn't matter," Kyra replied. "He turned. He's dead. End of story. Then we blow the bomb and get the fuck out of here."

A long moment of silence passed. Finally, Greg stood and moved back to the cockpit. A thought occurred to him and it made him feel helpless. He shoved it aside for the moment, looking for something to distract him.

"What was this station?" he asked.

"I'm not too sure," Mike replied. "But if I understood the talk I heard about it years ago, I think it was kind of a trader's outpost. They crop up in new systems when it looks like there's going to be a lot of through traffic. Obviously, in this case, it didn't work out. So, I guess the station was abandoned. I imagine there won't be much left. I do know that occasionally some of the guys would 'requisition' a ship up there every now and then. They must've been scavenging."

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