Chapter 12: The Plan

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Underground again.

Trent was beginning to feel a little bit better. They hadn't found Drake yet, hadn't heard from any of the others, but having two survivors at your back was better than going it alone. They'd stopped by a terminal and brought up a map of the underground portion. Trent was glad to see that it ran beneath all eight of the structures, even the Cyr ones. Which still blew Trent's mind. Stephen seemed less surprised when he was being brought up to speed.

"I figured it had something to do with the Cyr," he said as they moved down another length of anonymous, bland corridor.

"Really?" Trent asked.

"Yeah. This level of secrecy and security...it was either that or some kind of insane under-the-table deal. But the Cyr stuff makes sense. Everyone is hot for it. The government doesn't like to admit it, the corporates even less, but Cyr tech has provided some very nice leaps in technology for us. And given what we've seen so far, this is a hell of a find," Stephen explained.

"You do a lot of looking into this kind of stuff?" Gideon asked.

"Yeah. Conspiracy, cover-ups, they're pretty common now. Who assassinated who, which corporation sold cheap parts that caused some kind of catastrophe that killed thousands, who's taking payoffs. These aren't so much questions as matters of fact. I'm more interested in the bigger stuff. Who's stealing Cyr tech? Who's preparing to overthrow the government? Who really put an end to the Systems Wars?"

"I was wondering that myself," Gideon murmured.

"What do you mean? I thought we won," Trent replied.

"No. I mean, we did, but...a lot of things don't add up. To put it simply, we won way too quickly. Lots of coincidences helped us out," Stephen replied.

They all stopped speaking as something made a sound up ahead. Trent opted to take point. He moved down to the end of the corridor and came into a large room with two stories and several entrances and exits. Nothing was immediately obvious. He scanned the area, the doorways, the vents, the shadows.

Nothing.

"Clear," he said.

The others joined him.

"Kind of an anticlimax," Stephen murmured. He didn't sound disappointed.

They kept going.

* * *

They came to the command structure. Trent even managed to locate the very hole he'd crawled into a little over an hour ago to take down the automatic defenses. Whoever the guys in the dark suits were, they hadn't reached this far yet. The coast was clear, for now. Trent kept expecting to run into that nightmare of flesh and teeth and again he found himself wondering if Drake had made it out alive or he'd become a meal.

He didn't like that train of thought, so he derailed it.

Trent helped the other two up and they made for the central door that would take them to the actual command center itself.

"Where are all the uglies?" Gideon murmured.

"Probably taking on the guys in dark armor," Trent replied. "Hopefully, at least. We should be thankful for this peaceful interlude."

"No complaints from me," Stephen murmured.

They opened the door, didn't get shot at or pounced at by something with claws and teeth, and pressed on down the corridor. Trent wondered where Sharpe was, if she was still alive, still kicking and fighting. They moved through the door at the opposite end and found nothing nasty waiting for them in the command center.

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