Chapter 13: Locked In

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The Military Headquarters was a wreck.

It seemed as though Dark Ops had swept right on across, carving straight through the entire level. There were fresh corpses, mostly Altered, Mutants and Harvesters, and a few Guardians. Occasionally, he'd find a Dark Ops trooper, someone who'd fallen in battle. Usually the corpse was picked clean, but every now and then he'd come across a spare magazine or leftover weapon. He was making his way first towards the armory where they'd scavenged the rocket launcher to kill the Beta. There was a good chance something was leftover there.

Enzo's thoughts were racing. There was still a part of him that wanted to just push on through to the other side, get to the surface, hot-wire a vehicle and burn sky until he was somewhere a lot more pleasant. Another part of him argued that the only way out was through, there was a more than decent chance that any method of escape would be covered by something mean and nasty. So why not just kill the Dark Ops troops and get it over with? Put a bullet in Fielding's head and move on? There was another part, though.

A part he didn't really like.

Something he thought he'd burned and buried long ago, back from his Spec Ops days. Some of him wanted to rescue the others. There was undoubtedly a thrill from being the hero, kicking in doors and rescuing the hostages, the victims, the helpless. But below that, more important, was the foundation of human civilization. The ability to help your fellow human for nothing more than the fact that it was the right thing to do.

There was an old, old saying that a good deed was its own reward. For the past half decade or so, Enzo had taken on another saying: no good deed goes unpunished, but he'd be lying to himself if he said he didn't believe that the original saying was still true. So, with a quiet sigh as he came close to the armory, he knew that he would gear up, make a plan, and kick in a few doors to rescue Eve, Lee, and Beam. Because it was the right thing to do.

Enzo frowned as he came to the armory. He still only had his pistol and combat knife, and it didn't look like he'd be getting much else. The room was large, stuffed full of foldout tables, crates, lockers, racks, and shelves. They were all cleared out, propped opened and emptied. Despite this, Enzo knew he had to check, because what was the alternative? So he hurried through the ruined, derelict armory, checking inside, beneath and behind everything he could find. Occasionally, he'd locate a spare magazine or a few scattered shells.

By the end of it, he managed to make at least a small score. He snagged a rifle that had been somehow thrown behind a stack of crates and managed to grab two flash-bangs and two fragmentation grenades scattered throughout the room. It wasn't exactly what he'd been hoping for when he raided the high-tech armory of a top-secret military complex, but it would do. Between the Altered and Dark Ops, there wasn't much left behind.

Before leaving this level, Enzo made a quick stop by the Control Room. It looked like it had seen some sustained gunfire, and four Dark Ops corpses were spread around the entrance. Good to know that the others hadn't gone down without a fight, though Enzo wondered what Fielding wanted with prisoners. Maybe just to taunt him? Or for her own twisted reasons? Likely both. All the more reason to get them out.

As he stepped out of the Control Room, a bullet whizzed by his head. Enzo ducked instinctively, raising his rifle and taking aim. He spied a pair of dark-armored troops further down the hall, lining up their shots to take him down.

"He's on Level Four!" one of them said, presumably into his radio.

Enzo sighted the man who'd spoken, the one on the right, and blew out his faceplate with a well placed three-round burst. Glass and blood flew as the man let out a short cry, flying onto his back. Enzo grunted as a bullet grazed his shoulder, another flying past his ear. He dropped to one knee, aimed and fired, repeating the process. The second man fell. Silence reigned in the corridor. Enzo let out his breath in a long sigh, standing back up. It had been his left shoulder, at least. He retreated back into the Control Room and took a moment to patch himself up, grunting at the torn fabric of the uniform. If only they'd shot him in the vest.

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