Chapter 12: Dead Echoes

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Trent was getting annoyed.

After they'd gone through the door that would take them up and out of the tunnel, they'd come to a stairwell and gone up it. At the landing, however, they'd found another locked door. This one wasn't as simple as the previous one and they'd been standing there for a good twenty minutes while Genevieve worked on the control panel. Both he and Drake hadn't offered to help, they'd both inferred that she was a lot better than either of them at technical things. However, Trent was beginning to consider asking her to just let him blow the fucking door open.

He was just about to say something when, finally, there was a soft chime and the door slid open, revealing a short, narrow hallway. Genevieve let out a sigh of relief and stood up. Trent shouldered his rifle and moved past her.

"I'll take point," he said.

Stepping into the corridor, he saw that it was something of a security checkpoint. The right wall was half made of bulletproof glass, though it looked like someone had done everything they could to test that theory. The glass was shot through with white cracks and about a hundred stopped bullets. All of this was liberally sprayed with blood. Trent walked up to the glass, attempting to stare through. Whatever had happened had occurred on the other side and was out of sight. He sighed and began walking the length of the hallway.

"Clear," he called.

He passed through the door at the end, coming to another corridor, this one a bit longer with another door at the end and a third along the right side. There was still nothing, at least nothing alive. He spied a severed hand with broken fingers lying in a pool of blood. Ignoring it, he opened up the door to the right, listening to the others coming in behind him. He moved through a small room that looked like it served as a break room, his eyes passing over a couple of chairs, a table, a counter with a microwave, mini-fridge, and coffeemaker scattered atop its surface. Nothing for him in there. There was another door to the right.

That's the one he wanted.

Opening it up, he stepped into the security checkpoint. The vents in his suit were open, so the awful reek of blood and death slipped in, filtering into his nostrils. There were two bodies in the security checkpoint. They both wore black jumpsuits stained very, very red. It looked as though one man's head had been placed between two flat surfaces and they were quickly and inexorable closed, smashing the skull flat. Gray matter, mixed in with blood and the shattered remains of bone, oozed sluggishly from the ruined cranium.

The second man had had both arms torn off. They were nowhere to be seen. Trent hoped that the shock of blood loss had numbed most of the pain. Even for Rogue Ops, it was a nasty way to go. They'd clearly been firing like crazy...he could find no guns though. Spent shell casings carpeted the metal floor and bullet holes tattooed the walls and glass. Their workstations had been thoroughly ruined in the firefight and thus they still bled sparks, occasionally spitting out a blue-white stream whenever power tried to course back into them.

"Fuck," Drake muttered from the door.

Trent did his best not to show it, but he was startled by his partner's sudden appearance. He hadn't heard Drake approach.

"This is ugly," Trent muttered.

"Yeah...come on. We've got to find a working terminal," Drake replied.

Trent nodded. He followed Drake back out through the break room and into the little corridor. Genevieve was waiting for them at the end of it. As they approached, she opened the door and slipped through, gun first, silent as death. Now they had come to a chamber where a crossroads of corridors connected. Trent spied a general access terminal tucked away into one corner, meant to be used by passing personnel who might need a quick reminder of their schedule, the map of the base, or some other trivial bit of data.

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