Chapter 09: Creeping

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Gunfire. Squealing. Shouting.

A loud roar cut through Greg's unconscious state like a fifty caliber round. He grunted as he hit the floor, bouncing his head around inside his helmet, making the pain worse. Struggling to get a grip on himself, his reality, he tried to focus his eyes, tried to stand up. A wave of dizziness hit him and he groaned, laid back down on the hard floor. For a long moment, he stared up at the ceiling, a familiar ceiling, a sole work-light overhead.

Suddenly, Enzo appeared.

"You keep getting hit in the head like that and you're going to end up brain-dead," he said.

"Ugh...what happened?" Greg groaned in response.

"Creepers," Enzo replied.

Greg felt a bolt of fear shoot through him and he sat up, remembering the glowing red eyes, the pale skin, the black veins, the lithe body that eventually evolved into something almost totally invisible. Then his eyes fell on a green man with curious small vines growing out of his skin and green goo oozing from a few large wounds on his chest, and he frowned. Slowly, he got to his feet, feeling his equilibrium sway uncomfortably.

"What...what the fuck is that?" he asked.

"No idea. I call them Creepers. They're silent as hell. Judging by the outfits, I'd guess that they're employees of the research site, so...obviously something went wrong. Maybe with the local plant life or something," Enzo replied.

"Wonderful, another problem to deal with. That's one mystery partially solved at least," Greg said. He began looking around for his pistol. "Shit," he muttered. The Creeper that had knocked him out had only dragged him into the tunnel connecting the comms tower to the warehouse. He set off back towards the tower.

"Where are you going?" Enzo asked.

"My pistol," Greg replied.

Enzo grunted and crossed his arms, waiting for Greg to finish his task. He made his way back down the corridor, stepping over the Creeper corpse, and shuddered. The thing was definitely creepy as hell. An ugly, twisted visage of terror. He'd been really hoping that there wouldn't be any such things on this mission, that this mission would, in fact, go smoothly for once. But of course not. That would be asking too much of the universe, wouldn't it? Stepping back into the comms tower, Greg spied his pistol lying on the floor.

Well, at least that went well.

He walked over to it, knelt and grabbed it. As he began to straighten back up, something hit the floor next to him.

Something wet.

A drop of green goo.

Greg glanced up and screamed. Another Creeper, perhaps one of the technicians that had inhabited the comms tower in his previous life, was hanging from the ceiling, gripping some pipes. It detached itself, issuing a low roar, and landed atop him. Greg managed to half-shove it as it fell and he merely stumbled instead of going down all the way. The creature hit the floor and began to get up, but he put his boot solidly on its neck, put the pistol to its head and fired off three rounds in quick succession. As he straightened up, Enzo burst into the room.

"Well...looks like you found one," he said.

"Yeah. Man these things are ugly...come on," Greg replied.

He still felt rattled as they made their way down the connective tunnel between the tower and the warehouse. Only an hour into the mission and he'd already endured a crash into an ocean and had to put up with getting knocked out and attacked by a...plant man or something. He remained silent as they hurried back through the warehouse, but as they entered the next tunnel that led to the hangar, his brain finally seemed to reboot.

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