This one was a dead end as well, so Enzo returned to the crossroads one more time and headed forward. Logic dictated that this would have to lead somewhere. If it didn't, he'd soon find himself crawling up through the vents. Something he'd had experiences with, and something that was never very pleasant.
So if he wasn't on the prison transport anymore, then where was he? Where could he have possibly gone that he'd ended up in a furnace? He supposed it was possible someone, mercs or raiders, had come across the vessel and opted to kill everyone onboard, steal it, toss the bodies down their own furnace...but that didn't quite scan. It'd be easier to just space them...unless they were in an area where you couldn't get away with that.
So why not throw them down the prison ship's own burn units? Way easier...unless they didn't have one, or it was broken...Enzo sighed, frustrated. Too many unknowns. Either way, he had to get up and out and see the lay of the land. The final corridor ended in a large brushed silver door. Enzo moved over to the control panel and hit it, ducking along the side of the passageway, fingers on the handle of his scalpel.
The door slid open with relative ease and little noise. After a moment of tense silence, Enzo peered around the doorway that fringed the corridor and stared down an empty length of metal walls. Nothing waited for him. He stood, stepped beyond the doorway...and paused. Something like a shiver rattled through him and made him draw his scalpel. Visibly, absolutely nothing had changed in the corridor. No noise had been made.
But his combat instincts, something that had been honed and sharpened to a fine point over the decades, were whispering to him.
He was not alone.
Perhaps it was the smell. In the incineration unit, he could smell the harsh reek of death and burned meat. He'd been too distracted to really smell much of anything until now. And here, in this next section, the smell of death was more powerful. Decay and spilled blood. It was a reek he'd become particularly familiar with in his line of work. Enzo licked his lips, the machine adrenaline coming back, preparing him for war.
He set off down the corridor. After a dozen meters, the walls tattooed occasionally with entrances to more storage bays, the hallway terminated into a huge, open room like a cavern. The walls extended away from him, the roof high overhead, lost in the darkness. On either side of him, just barely in his field of vision, he saw ranked rows of huge metal cylinders. Vats of some kind, storage containers for liquid. He'd seen them before, all ships, stations, and colonies had them in one form or another. They were almost always meant for storing sewage and waste.
These, too, were brushed clean, neat, and new. Each sported a terminal at its base that gave off a faint glow in the gloom. Enzo moved over to the nearest one, keeping a watchful eye out for whoever might be down here with him, and activated it. Maybe he could get some hints about his new locale. Or maybe not. After a moment, he saw that it was just a waste unit, meant to hold what appeared to be regular runoff that all human settlements produced. Enzo turned away from the unit, abandoning it in favor of a path down the center of the room.
It offered the most cover, as it was furthest from the light.
Moving across the room, he finally came to another large door, set in the exact center of the immense wall. It was shut firmly and, when he tried to activate it, he discovered it was also locked. Enzo spent a moment at the control panel before realizing that he wasn't getting the door open, at least not without some kind of security clearance or a lot of luck. He'd never been particularly good at hacking these things.
He sighed heavily and considered his options. There hadn't appeared to have been any other doors in the room, as all the containers were side-by-side, pressed up against each other, no room for anything else. However...he saw that the routine glow of the ranked control panels was broken on this end of the room. In the far corners, there didn't appear to be any containers. So maybe there were doors. Enzo went right at random.
YOU ARE READING
The sixth novel in The Shadow Wars. Enzo Rains could be a poster boy for the average twenty-fourth century mercenary. (If they made such a thing.) He's paranoid, entirely self-reliant, and does everything in his power to earn his next paycheck. His...