Chapter 15: In Darkness Dreaming

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"So how do we get out of here?" Enzo asked.

They were leaving the vaguely civilized area of the prefab camp, moving back up the tunnel towards the crossroads.

"The tunnel up here that slants upward, it leads directly to a cargo elevator that will take us to a warehouse on the surface," Eve replied.

"So it's that simple? Good, I was hoping so," Enzo said.

"It's never that simple," Lee said bitterly. "Nothing's been simple since they all got out."

"Speaking of which..." Enzo said, glancing over at Eve.

She looked back at him, looked away, sighed. "Fine. Yes, I did it. Just so the question is out of your minds, I was the one who let them go."

"How?" Enzo asked.

"Why?" Lee asked.

They reached the crossroads and looked around. Still nothing. The Altered had to have moved on by now, wreaking havoc on the surface. Enzo wondered if the people who staffed the topside weather station were privy to the secrets just beneath their feet. He imagined that they weren't. It was a lot easier to convince nosy investigators if you actually didn't know anything. What a horrific shock it must have been when the creatures had come screaming out of the ground. He wondered if there was anyone left alive up there.

They began walking up the well lit tunnel.

"I've done a lot of work over the years," Eve began. "Corporate, freelance, government...I spent a year running computer core repairs for a mercenary clan out on Hesh. Over the past two years, I started getting clued into something strange. There was a kind of...shadow, thrown over the ultranet. Something moving in the deeper recesses of government black ops, corporate espionage, and deep space research. I was curious. The clues were minute, extremely subtle, but I've gotten good at looking for such clues. I used to find guys that ran off with stolen corporate data, schematics, and plans and theories. So I wanted to know what was happening," she explained.

"What'd you find out?" Lee asked. She sounded interested. Enzo had to admit, it sounded very interesting.

"Not much, at first. Then, I finally grabbed a name. Dark Operations. I kept digging. And then, about a year ago, I got found out. I had...a partner. Dark Ops knew I was on their ass, though they didn't know it was me, I covered my tracks well. But my partner didn't, and they nailed his ass to the wall. They bombed our apartment. I was out at the time. They made it look like a terrorist attack. I drifted deeper into the techno-criminal substratum to avoid detection. And it became personal. At first, I thought they were some deep-cover government black ops program. But the more I dug, the less that made sense..." Eve trailed off.

"What do you mean?" Lee asked. "It is government, we know that now. I mean, that's the whole reason we Marines were sent in."

"You were sent in because the government no longer trusted Dark Operations, and they wanted someone they could trust there to keep an eye on it. That's what's so weird. I actually found a few of the ops that Dark Ops was running."

"What were they?" Enzo asked.

"One was running some kind of experiment on ancient alien tech on a backwater planet named Lindholm. Older than Cyr stuff. Another was running some kind of genetic experiments way out in the middle of nowhere based on some kind of indigenous lifeform they found. Another was trying to build super-soldiers. One was this. This one was just getting off the ground, and I pulled a fast one, inserted myself into the files as a power maintenance tech. Something low-level that they needed. It took a while to actually make it so that they wouldn't notice that someone who wasn't supposed to be there was, but I pulled it off."

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