Chapter 07: Rising Tension

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Back in familiar territory.

Greg stood stock still in one of the walkways that connected all the buildings on the island. Presently, he was about halfway through one that linked the reception building to the hangar. It was the first stop on his scenic tour to the communications tower. He stared out the nearest window at a landscape of rainy darkness, broken occasionally by a light from another building or one of the ambient work-lights they'd fixed to the rocky ground at periodic intervals. There was nothing out there, at least nothing that he could see, but he was convinced that he'd caught some kind of movement off the edge of his peripheral vision.

How familiar was this scene?

How many times had he put up with something like this?

Greg finally let an almost silent sigh whisper through his lips and resumed his purposeful stride. His armored boots clanged hollowly in the tunnel. His present state of mind was firm determination, shot through with red lines of worry. The crash had rattled him, but not nearly as much as it might have even a few weeks ago.

After all the head trauma he'd endured in the Dis system, Greg had made Hawkins's med-techs run a full scan on his head. They found some stress points and even a microfracture in his skull that had required some quick surgery to fix, but otherwise, they said his brain was healthy. He was still frustrated that all the intensive scans hadn't revealed any miracle key to unlocking his memories. The med-techs couldn't even tell whether or not the memories were still there. The last he'd heard on the subject, they were investigating a few 'abnormalities' in his otherwise healthy brain. He still held out hope, but not very much.

It seemed to dwindle with each day that passed.

Greg reached the end of the corridor. He was at least glad that he had a suit of power armor this time around. He hadn't managed to grab one of those until they were on the lunar mining facility. He hit the button and kept his pistol raised, keeping an eye out for friend and foe alike. The door opened to reveal an immense, cavernous room. He'd come to the hangar. Two of the four garage-style doors along the left side of the structure were open, letting in rainwater. Overhead, one of the two huge openings that allowed aircraft within was also open.

What immediately stood out in the hangar as odd were the two sleek gray troop transport vessels. They seemed utterly incongruous with the setting around them. The hangar was a place of gritty industrialism, a place of scattered spare parts and grimy tools. There was only a single vehicle that looked part service tram and part cargo hauler, as well as a handful of forklifts that might, he suppose, count as vehicles to some people. Besides the troop transports there were a pair of jump ships that looked battered and weathered.

What was so strange about the troop transports was how smooth and sleek they were. How brand new and clean they appeared. Greg took a moment to walk around the bulky things, looking for some kind of insignia or logo. Besides the flat gray paint job, he spied nothing. Greg wasted another ten minutes investigating a way to get into them. He tried a control panel built into a support strut that should have lowered the cargo ramp at the back, but it chirped petulantly, glowing an angry red, and refused him access.

He even tried climbing up the emergency ladders sticking out the bottom of the cockpits, but both ship's hatches also refused him entry. Sighing, he dropped off the ladder and decided to search the hangar for clues.

He access his radio. "Enzo, I found something weird."

"Dead bodies?" Enzo hazarded after a second.

"I said weird, as in, uncommon," Greg replied.

Enzo snorted. "Lack of dead bodies?"

"Wait, how do you find the lack of something?" he asked. "Nevermind. Yes, that, but that's not what I'm talking about."

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