Chapter 07: Instability

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Jennifer was definitely right about one thing: there were more zombies on the research deck than anywhere else she'd been so far on the ship. What was worse, the research deck, nearest the middle, was the largest deck. It was a nightmare of twisting passageways, interconnecting chambers, and all sorts of little alcoves and corridors. Not exactly the place a person fighting a horde of zombies wanted to find himself in.

Mark was at least glad that he had Frost with him. The guy was a certified badass. He had an amazing combat sense and stunning reflexes. After fixing the leak, they'd quickly made their way to the nearest stairwell and had gone up. Almost as soon as they stepped out of the stairway and into a long corridor, they'd run into trouble. A dozen zombies were stumbling here and there, but as soon as they locked eyes on Mark and Frost they'd unified and attacked. It had left the pair of men suddenly fighting for their lives.

A resounding blast split the air and the final zombie dropped.

"Okay," Frost said, hastily shoving shells into his shotgun. "Now where?"

"Let me find a map," Mark replied.

They hadn't liked him to be on this deck too much back when this ship was normal and not a spacebound dreadnought of plague and death. Everyone on the research deck had special clearance and he'd only gone there a few times to make some quick repairs to some of the basic equipment, so he hadn't gotten to see much.

Mark took a moment to survey the corridor they were standing in. It continued along in either direction, largely just smooth panels of titanium white metal, which made the blood really stand out. The lighting was bright and harsh and reminded him of a hospital. Not the most comfortable feeling. There were only two doors in the corridor, but he ignored both of them as he spied a general access terminal screen not too far away.

They were a bit fancier here. Instead of being an actual fixture jutting from the wall like most decks, this was merely a screen actually built into the wall. Apparently corridor space was considered premium down in the research labs, either that or it was just more aesthetically pleasing. Probably that second one, given that this was a corporate vessel.

"Watch my back," Mark said quietly as he approached the terminal.

Frost grunted in reply. Mark quickly opened the terminal menu and brought up the map, then he checked it over. Then, all at once, he realized that he wasn't quite sure where they actually had to go. He opened up a comms channel.

"Jennifer, we're on the research deck. How do you want to do this?"

"There's a cold storage facility near the middle of the deck. Cold Storage Bay Four. That's supposedly where this cure or vaccine is. We'll meet there, quick as you can," Jennifer replied. Again, she sounded harried.

Mark frowned as he studied the map. "Okay, we'll get there as quickly as we can, but it's quite a ways away," he replied.

"Fine, just hurry."

From somewhere further down the hallway, something growled. Frost tensed and Mark sighed softly. This wasn't going to be easy.

* * *

Jennifer exhaled forcefully as the final Spitter was put down. She stood in the corridor, her back to Megan's, each of them covering an end of the passageway they had suddenly found themselves trapped in, and scanned her side.

"Clear," she said, unhappy to note that her voice was shaking slightly.

"Clear," Megan replied.

That's when she let herself relax, just for a second. The corridor was a pretty great place in terms of hiding spots: there were none. She had a bright, white view of everything. She'd put down eight hostiles this time around. It was their third firefight since reaching the damned research deck. The place seemed to be packed with the bastards. It had been really miserable, really slow going. She'd just heard from Mark the second time and he was promising that he and Frost would try to hurry. Which didn't mean too much down here.

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