It took him nearly half an hour, but Trent finally heard familiar voices as he honed in on the fork in the corridors where they'd originally split up. For a second, he was uncertain, positive that it must be Dark Ops. But the voices lacked the telltale mechanical filters and then he heard Drake's voice, which was unmistakable.
"I'm coming up on you guys, don't shoot me," Trent called.
All the voices ceased, then he came around the corner and felt relief wash through him as he saw the others. Drake, Gideon, and Trevor all stood in the corridor. They all seemed a bit bloodier, more tired, worse for the wear, but they were still alive. Trent and Drake laughed with relief as they realized the other was alive.
"Where's Tristan?" Gideon asked.
Trent shook his head. "She didn't make it, but we managed to kill two of the unique bastards. The one that was going around flaying everyone, and the Carnivore. That was the one that got her. Bit her fucking head clean off."
"Goddamn," Gideon murmured. "You killed both of them?"
"Yeah...but I encountered something else." He ran through a brief description of what he began referring to as merely the Darkness. The other three seemed even less certain about their survival than before, and they were already looking pretty glum.
"So, you said there was a problem," Trent said. "What's the problem?"
"Research Three, there doesn't seem to be any way to get to it. I was checking it out on the terminal and I saw that the tramway had been physically destroyed."
"What about underground?"
"Well, that's the other problem. I don't know, and I can't find out because Dark Ops finally locked me out of the system. They did it good, too. The only way I'm going to be able to get back into the system is with direct access to the command center. I'd say just hell with it and we find out on our own, but that could take time we don't have. And, on top of that, it'd probably be best if we could throw another wrench in their gears," Trevor explained.
"I get the feeling there's something you aren't telling me," Trent replied.
Trevor hesitated, then nodded. "Yes. I was listening in on Dark Ops frequencies and, well, they've captured Sharpe. She's in the detention center."
"This sounds familiar," Drake muttered.
"Yes. Only this time it's much more tightly locked down. But ultimately, I think it'd be in our best interest to spring her, break into the command center and reestablish communication with the central databanks and find out if there's a way to get to Research Three all in one go. Every other option is...not much of an option."
Trent considered it for a long moment. The others were looking at him. Gideon and Drake's expression both said that they'd go along with whatever he thought best, which sucked, because he wasn't always the best at making decisions. Trevor seemed scared enough to go along, too, although it looked like he really wanted them to spring Sharpe from prison.
If they went, they might lose everything. He felt he could trust Gideon and Drake to pull their own weight, and Trevor seemed at least somewhat competent. He'd survived this long. But Dark Ops seemed very on the ball, not to mention the nightmares that roamed the corridors of the base. Of course, whatever was ahead of them might be a lot more dangerous, and he might, for some reason, need Sharpe and her expertise at staying alive.
What decided him, however, was the knowledge that he couldn't just leave her there. Even if she was a corporate dog, even if she probably planned to knock him and Drake off after they finished the mission.
YOU ARE READING
The fourth novel in The Shadow Wars. Trent Stone and Drake Winters are best friends, brothers-in-arms, and career mercenaries. After a particularly dangerous job, they head to an isolated space station for a bit of rest and relaxation. But their vac...