Allan reached the base of the hospital and readied himself, heading back out into the rainy darkness of the forsaken colony. He took a quick look at his vehicle, marveling briefly at how thoroughly ruined it was and how apparently unscathed the killer had been. Of course, after that stint with the power plant, well...
He was beginning to suspect that something was seriously wrong here. His rational mind still clung to the notion that it was a psychotic killer in a suit of grade-A military power armor...or maybe that was his irrational mind. Because as far as he knew, there was no such thing as a suit of armor that could withstand a direct blast from a critically overloaded power plant at ground fucking zero. It just wasn't possible.
So then who, or what, the fuck was this?
He moved past the destroyed jeep and broke into a jog, heading for the mining camp, following in the footsteps of the killer. Allan kept focused. The plan hadn't changed. Death was still imminent. He kept up his pace, weaving in between derelict buildings, down rain-slicked alleyways, guided by the light-enhancement feature built into his helmet. For a moment, he felt an almost irresistible urge to take off his helmet and enjoy the rain.
He ignored it, not taking the time to examine the reason he was having the urge. It was all too likely that he would die soon. Before long, Allan emerged from the complex of narrow alleyways and came onto a short, ruined road that led to the mining complex in the distance. It was built into the side of a mountain that loomed very close by. He hunted for the dark, looming figure of the killer, but could see nothing.
Allan kept up the pace. He reached the end of the road without incident, continually scanning for any sign of attack. As he reached the abandoned mining camp, which was little more than a cluster of one-and-two story buildings that sat in the shadow of the mountain, he hesitated for a moment. What the fuck was he doing?
For a few seconds, the rational part of his mind, the one that wanted to live, tried to make him see reason. He was alone. He had no backup. He had knowingly defied orders and personally witnessed this guy...or thing...kill dozens of people, his own team included. All he had was a gun and the slim hope of a shaky plan that relied very, very heavily on luck. He had every reason, every opportunity to walk away.
So just what the hell was he doing, stalking through the pitch black rain?
Allan supposed he should face the truth. Even if he could go back, face up to whatever he's done, somehow get out of it without being locked up or blacklisted...what was the point? When his team had died, something had broken in him, something important and fundamental. Could it be fixed? Even if it could, did he want to go through the long, arduous process of fixing it? If he was being honest with himself, no, he didn't want to.
So he marched on in between the buildings, hunting for the killer. It was obvious that the mining installation had run for a little while, at least enough to get a decent-sized camp built. All the structures he came to were just like those in the colony: empty husks of their former glory. No furniture, broken windows, unlit, dead. As Allan continued hunting, he felt like he was missing something, some key place that the killer would likely go.
Suddenly, his radio crackle to life. He braced himself for another string of words from that dead, almost-mechanical voice of the killer.
Instead, someone else came on.
"Sergeant Gray, can you hear me?"
He had no idea who the woman was and hesitated for a long moment, standing half-in, half-out of a doorway, hunting the rainy darkness.
"Sergeant Gray, do you copy?"
"...yes. Who is this?" he replied.
"My name is Sergeant Major Montgomery. I understand you're interested in tracking down our target and have been after him for awhile now."
YOU ARE READING
The fifth novel in The Shadow Wars. Sergeant Allan Gray has just suffered the worst defeat in his fourteen years as a member of Security-Investigations, a branch of the government that offers protection to both the colonies and isolated outposts of...