Chapter 01: Right Back At It

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The ship.

He was back in the ship. Or had he ever left it? He stumbled through crimson-lit corridors that snaked endlessly away from him. His eyes seemed to be playing tricks on him. Was it the light that was red? Or was there just so much blood that everything was red? Something squished beneath his bare foot and he looked down, terror stealing into his soul. He was stepping on a severed, rotted hand. Blood and pus leaked out of the decayed thing and he cried out, recoiling backwards. The floor was too slick, and his feet shot out from under him.

Crashing to the floor, he yelled in pain. Naked, he was naked. Everything hurt. He tried to remember why he was here...where here was. But his memories seemed to always skitter away from him, lost like tears in the rain.

A hand clapped down on his shoulder then. Hard as steel, cold as space.

It was behind him.

Behind him.

Slowly, he began to turn, terrified of what he might see. Even more terrified of letting the unknown linger for any longer.

He turned, shivering from unabashed terror, and looked up into the face of madness.

He began to scream...

Greg Bishop gasped awake, sitting bolt upright in the dim confines of wherever he was. For a cold-gut second, he knew nothing. He had no idea where he was or why he was there. Nothing entered his head and for what felt like far too long he sat frozen, trembling with raw-edged fear. Then a thought came to him. It was simple: Not again. That singular thought exploded like a beacon in the night and it all slipped comfortably back into place. Waking up in that ship, Dis, Dark Ops, the Undead, the Augmented...

Escape.

Greg let out a breath he hadn't even realized he'd been holding. It came out in a long, soft hiss and he looked around. He was in a cargo ship, floating out in the middle of nowhere, and he'd laid down to have a nap with...Greg glanced over and down. Kyra was still deep asleep. She was curled up on her side, facing him, her face relaxed and beautiful in slumber. She seemed at peace, which was a real blessing, considering all they'd been through over the past few weeks. Greg let out another, softer sigh, and rubbed at his eyes.

He looked around once more. The only real place to sleep had been the captain's quarters. There was another room meant for the crew, but it was more like a barracks than anything else. The captain's quarters were small but at least serviceable. After making sure they were actually safe, Greg and Kyra had found the bed, stripped down and made love until they were too exhausted to keep going. And now Greg was waking from that.

He had no idea how much time had passed. Kyra shifted. He glanced back down at her, then reached out and tucked a bit of stray brunette hair behind her ear. Her eyes snapped open at the contact and her entire body tensed, but she relaxed after a few seconds. She looked up at him and smiled. He smiled back.

"Is everything okay?" she asked, slowly sitting up and stretching. The blankets fell from her, revealing her pale torso.

"Yeah, fine, as far as I know. But we should probably actually get up and figure out how we're getting out of this situation," Greg replied.

Kyra seemed to consider it for a moment, rubbing sleep from her eyes. Finally, she nodded. "Yeah, all right. Let's go take a shower."

They both stood up, leaving the warm nest they'd made in the bed. Greg stretched, popping his joints, feeling his varied muscles protest. He'd be sore for weeks to come. Following Kyra into the bathroom attached to the captain's quarters, he knelt and opened up the cabinet beneath the sink. Fishing out the medical kit buried beneath it, he set it on the counter around the sink and followed Kyra into the shower.

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