Chapter 08: Obsidian Skies

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They were going to a place called Grimsfall.

From everything Greg had read about the miserable place, the name seemed entirely appropriate. It was a recently founded colony, built officially off the Galactic Alliance grid and out of their territory five years ago by an odd conglomeration of mercenaries, shady investors, salvagers, and colonists. The Spec Ops portfolio said that a handful of medical and pharmaceutical companies had discreetly paid for the colony to be established. They wanted an intentional black market there, a playground for new medicine beyond the legal boundaries of the government.

Those companies were top providers to the military and had had several breakthroughs in the past decade, so no one looked too closely. Greg wasn't sure how to feel about that, so he simply shoved the thoughts aside. Right now, dealing with Rogue Ops and monsters from beyond time and space was enough to think about. Greg glanced out the window, watching the atmosphere burn by. They were making planetfall.

He, Eve, Drake, and Genevieve were all tucked away in their own private cabin aboard an inter-system commercial ship, meant to leap between systems and planets. Hawkins had at least been nice enough to allot them the funds to travel in style. Greg had had two very nice in-flight meals and had been spending most of the time talking with Eve. Neither Drake nor Genevieve seemed in a very talkative mood and about halfway through the flight, Drake had gone to sleep. Greg was worried about them. He knew they were all worried about the pair. But they at least seemed to be talking to each other, and they had their loss (and their rage) in common.

Greg reviewed the plan once more in his head as they entered the final portion of the landing procedures. Spec Ops had a safe house on the planet, since they, and other branches of the military and government, frequently had agents that needed to travel to the dismal colony for a variety of reasons. One of the men manning the safe house would meet them at the spaceport and appraise them of the situation on the drive back. Apparently they had a little bit more data on the whereabouts of Enzo Rains.

Or so they claimed.

Greg glanced out the window again. The clouds were gone and now he could see the city below him. The day was gray, bordering on night-like, and rainy. The colony was drenched in a neon haze. It all looked pretty miserable. But he had to admit, it was a step up from isolated locations where the walls were coated in blood and genetic monstrosities roamed the corridors, looking for blood. If all they had to deal with was some rain and Enzo, then Greg decided this whole mission was pretty much a vacation.

The ship began its final docking procedures.

* * *

The landing was routine...at least, Greg had to assume it was. He'd never been on a ship like this before. Or, he didn't remember being on one. His landings usually involved a lot of screaming and crashing, or jumping out of an airlock if things went well. All this one consisted of was standing up, grabbing his bag from the overhead compartment, and walking out of the ship and into the terminal they'd linked up to.

"You know," Eve said, taking his hand as they walked through the crowded, noisy terminal, shoving their way through the other disembarking passengers, "someday, I'd like to take a real vacation, to somewhere nice."

"Me too. Mezzanine was great," Greg replied. "Maybe we could go there."

"Maybe. Rent a cabin on our own private island for a week. I'm sure our boss would be willing to foot the bill after we pull this off."

"If we pull this off, I plan on leaving for like a month at least. I've got a few loose ends I'd like to wrap up out there in the galaxy."

"Oh yeah? Like what?"

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