Chapter 16: Them

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Greg ran through the misty forest.

Normally he'd like to think that he would stay and face whatever the hell that had been. He very rarely straight up ran from a challenge, and he normally faced down monsters like this, but something about the situation was just too much. He wasn't sure if it was the mist or the way his head was hurting, not just his head but his whole damned body after being thrown around like a ragdoll in the escape pod, but he just wanted out of there.

Suddenly, a figure appeared out of the mist. He nearly fired off a shot but relaxed his finger at the last second as he saw that the armored figure in question had on black armor with silver trim, not just straight black.

They were going to have to change that at some point.

"Greg?"

"Drake?"

"Found Greg!"

Greg spied another figure appearing in the mist and relaxed even further when he saw it was Eve. He let out a heavy sigh. It was an unconscious fear he'd been carrying around ever since launching from the vessel, something he'd pushed down into his subconscious so he could focus on staying alive. Now that he knew she was alive, he felt an immense relief flood through him. He opened his mouth to say something, then stopped as a loud, unfortunately familiar rapid clicking filled the air. Drake and Eve looked around.

"What the fuck was that?" Eve asked.

"I don't know, but it's big and mean and nasty. It straight up ate a Rogue Ops guy a few minutes ago. That's what I was running from."

"I knew something was following me..." Drake muttered.

"We need to get...somewhere. Somewhere safe," Greg said.

"You may find that difficult to achieve in this environment," Drake replied.

"We're heading for a Rogue Ops outpost, it's not far from here. We came to investigate the explosion. I'm guessing that was you?" Eve asked.

"Yeah, that was me. Took out a squad chasing me...have you seen or heard from any of the others?" he replied.

"No. Something's blocking the radios...but we haven't heard from anyone or seen any friendly corpses," Drake said.

"Let's get going then. I hate standing around like this," Greg replied.

Drake grunted an agreement and Eve nodded tightly. They set off into the mist, in the direction of the camp that Drake and Eve had pinpointed. Greg took point, rifle in hand, constantly scanning the misty surroundings that enshrouded the forest. His head still ached, but the sharp pain had retreated to a low, dull throb that he could tolerate. His body ached as well, his muscles strained and his joints in misery. But Greg had gotten a lot of practice at putting up with pain over the last few months, ever since waking up on Dis.

All kinds of pain.

The rapid clicking noises followed them as they made their way through the trees. Greg saw shadows shift uncertainly at the edges of the mist and it made him stir uncomfortably. He still wasn't sure what he'd actually seen. As they kept up the pace, they soon began coming across the remains of Rogue Ops personnel. There were severed limbs, liberal sprays of blood, small drifts of spent shell casings and shards of armor.

"Damn, whatever these things are, they're hardcore," Eve muttered.

"Hopefully they'll keep their distance," Greg replied.

"When has that ever happened for us?" Drake asked.

Greg grunted a reply. He stopped suddenly as they came to the perimeter of the camp they'd been looking for. Greg studied the perimeter fence, a tight-weave chainlink that had been apparently shredded and ripped open in several places.

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