Chapter 02: Enigmas

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Now that his head was clearer, Enzo wanted to find a map of the place. Something to give him some kind of idea where the fuck he was going. Stepping out of the infirmary, he looked left, then right. Right would take him back the way he'd come, the crossroads of corridors. Left was the unknown. For the moment, he went left. The light was still very bad, but his eyes were already adjusting to it.

Up ahead, he could see that the corridor made a left hand turn. He passed more doors, all of them marked for storage. As Enzo walked, he began to pick on things. Inconsistencies, things that just didn't add up. Like the walls, for example. And the infirmary. It finally clicked for him that they only looked old and abandoned because of the shadows, and probably his own bad mood and misery. But closer inspection revealed that they were, in fact, new. The metal hadn't been scarred by years of time, by guys walking around carrying crates, accidentally bumping against the walls and leaving minute dents that accumulated over the years.

They were smooth and still relatively fresh, as if they'd been constructed within the past six months or so. The same for the infirmary. It looked new and unused. How was that possible? The prison transport, little more than a gutted and overhauled freighter, had been ancient, built in the last century, likely. The hull had been pitted and scarred, chewed by micrometeorites and space junk. The interior hadn't been much better. The windows fogged with a million little scars, the walls and floors scuffed from decades of wear and tear.

He came to the end of the corridor, finding nothing but storage rooms, and took the left turn. The corridor continued on for another ten meters, then stopped. More storerooms, nothing of interest. Enzo sighed, turned and retraced his steps. His shoulder was hurting again, though now it had been reduced to the background rumble of pain that spiked only occasionally. It approached being tolerable, but never completely left his sphere of awareness.

Enzo came back to the crossroads and looked around. Just to double-check, he hurried back down the corridor he'd originally come from and confirmed that it, too, was a dead end. He jogged back and this time moved into the right hallway. None of them were labeled. Would, for some reason, the bowels of the ship be significantly less-traveled? Or had they been renovated recently? He doubted it. As long as the ship ran, they didn't seem to care.

The engine on that vessel had been pretty shitty. He could hear the damned thing while he was trying to get to sleep and-Enzo froze. He couldn't hear the engine anymore. In fact, all he could hear was a very soft hum of power, a very quiet whisper of oxygen and, somewhere distantly, a constant dripping noise that was faintly ominous. But no engines. Were they off? He supposed it was entirely possible, but...

Something was off here, very off.

Looking at the architecture, Enzo didn't feel like he was on a ship. Or, at the very least, he didn't feel like he was on the same ship. Recalling the industrial yellow, rust orange, and dull, weathered gray of the prison transport did not match up with the brushed silver of stainless steel he was currently seeing all around him.

He passed several more storage bays, a pair of maintenance rooms, and a bathroom along the way. Enzo took the opportunity to stop in the bathroom. He needed to take a piss. He stepped in, flicking the lights on. They hummed weakly to life, illuminating a row of stalls and urinals, and a handful of sinks. The mirrors above the sink were sleek, clean, and framed in bright chrome. Enzo moved swiftly through the room, checking all the stalls.

He was utterly alone.

After taking a moment to piss in one of the urinals, he moved to the nearest sink and washed his hands. After studying the water for a moment, he took a lengthy drink from it. The quality of the water surprised him as well. It was very pure, almost enough to be entirely tasteless, not like the awful crap on the prison transport that had left a bad taste in his mouth. He finished, dried his hands and headed back out into the corridor.

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