Chapter 11: Cold Silence

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Greg led Kyra and Duncan across the landing pads that ringed the control tower. He had his pistol in hand, having been unable to convince himself to reholster it after leaving the watchtower and the mangled corpse. He kept thinking that he needed to find a better gun. There hadn't been anything worth using in the top of the tower. Nobody had spoken since then and the whispering of the winds was beginning to get to him. Up ahead, the tower loomed ominously, a frozen steel monolith, shooting into dark gray skies.

He'd already begun to plan how they were going to handle this. Get inside the nearest hangar, clear it out, head into the control tower and get to the top. From there, they'd be able to get a good view of the area, both literally and technologically. He imagined all of the important monitoring and scanning equipment would be based atop the control tower. Hopefully it was all still in good working condition. From there, they could run a full BioScan of the place, see if anyone was still alive or if anything was hiding out with them.

Not that they could necessarily trust the BioScan for that, though.

And they'd have to find a ship, of course. Preferably one with an FTL drive. Provided they didn't run into any serious resistance, not that he was counting on that, since they always seemed to run into serious resistance, it shouldn't be too difficult of a task. What he was really thinking about, beyond that, was how his life would play out after this mission. Provided, of course, that he survived this mission roughly intact.

Speaking of intact...

Greg glanced down at his right arm. It was hidden away inside his suit, but it was still metal all the same. The sensation of not really feeling anything but still being able to manipulate the hand was an incredibly strange one. He'd gotten used to it enough that he could function and sometimes he even forgot that the hand was fake for hours at a time. Then it would make a noise, clang against something, or he'd just catch sight of the damn thing and it would all come rushing back. The fact that he'd been strapped down to a table and violated by an insane artificial intelligence...he still had nightmares about watching his own arm getting cut off.

But that was going to change when he got back. He was having Hawkins grow him a new one and attach it. Kyra said that cloning technology had come a long way and it shouldn't take him more than a week or two to get a new arm and begin to get used to it. In past centuries, he'd understood that there would be months of frustrating rehabilitation, but neurosurgeons had developed marvelous tricks for rerouting the brain, sort of tricking it into believing that it was already used to the new limb. Greg had high hopes for it.

But then what?

He didn't want to think about that. About his and Kyra's problem. Everything had been so much simpler back on Dis. That thought made him want to laugh, in a sick kind of way. He supposed love and passion were easy when there was death around every corner and the only way out was through. But what about after?

Greg realized that the metal landing pad had run out. He was approaching the base of the nearest hangar. There were two massive, garage-style doors that were firmly shut against the cold. The trio came to stand before one of them and stared up. The building was easily fifty or sixty feet high, the tower soaring another hundred above that.

"Let's find a side way in," Greg said, wanting to alert anyone or anything to their presence as little as possible at this point.

The others murmured quiet agreements and they moved along the front of the building until they came to a corner. Greg peered cautiously around it. Nothing, just a long, lonely stretch of snow. No automated defenses, as far as he could see. Making his way down it, glancing back to make sure the others were still with him, he held his pistol with both hands now. There was no telling what could be waiting for them inside the hangar bay. He regretted not being able to get more information, not that anything could have helped that.

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