Chapter 10: Captured

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The world came swimming back to Mark.

For a moment, he thought he might be waking up in a stasis pod once more. That wouldn't make much sense, but the sensation was familiar. He quickly dismissed this however as he realized he was in an upright position. He felt pressure against his chest, his ankles, and his wrists. Cord, he realized after a second. He was somewhere very bright. Fear stole into his heart as he realized that he couldn't move. Mark opened his eyes fully, or tried to, anyway.

Someone was standing in front of him, across the room.

It was Frost.

The immense man leaned against a blank, dull gray wall, arms across his massive chest, frowning, staring hard at him.

"See you're finally up," he muttered.

Mark tried to say something, but words escaped him for the moment. He coughed instead, then he heard movement to his immediate right and glanced over. Jennifer was tied to a chair as well with thin black cord. She was stirring. She opened her eyes, looked around, locked eyes briefly with Mark, then turned her attention to Frost.

"I thought you were fleeing," she said.

"I did. I'm not the only one in this little outfit. Boss wanted to see you. A small crew came up to gas and extract you," Frost replied.

"Why are you telling us?" Jennifer asked.

"Won't make much difference one way or the other."

"Why'd you betray everyone?" Mark asked.

"I didn't."

"...what? Your name was on the list and-"

"To betray someone means that you ever had any intention of not doing something terrible to them. I infiltrated that ship with the intention of carrying this assignment out. Me and a few of my associates. Your captain, on the other hand, betrayed you. Him and a handful of other high-ranking officers on that ship sold you out. They were the ones that allowed us onboard, allowed us to do our research. They betrayed you, I was just doing my job."

"Yeah, just doing your job and you helped kill a thousand fucking people and turn them into goddamned monsters," Jennifer growled.

"That's life," Frost replied. "Now, I suggest you two shape up and mind your manners. Boss is coming to see you and he's not really someone you want to piss off."

Mark was thinking of a way to respond to that when the sole door in the room, (at least as far as he could tell, given that he couldn't see what was behind him), opened up. A pale man with short, dark hair made of lean, wiry muscle walked in. His most obvious feature was a false right arm, stylistically done up to look like a chromed metallic skeletal arm. He wore a black jumpsuit with no insignias or logos. The right sleeve was ripped off completely, to show off the arm, Mark imagined. A pair of sharp, brown eyes narrowed and focused on the two of them. He looked...unhealthy, like he was suffering some kind of painful, prolonged sickness.

"So, you're the two troublemakers," he said.

Mark immediately felt cold with fear. There was a hard, dispassionate edge to the man's face. He had the air of someone who was far too comfortable with death and violence. He seemed like someone capable of doing anything.

The man stared at them both for a long time. Finally, he winced, as though a great tremor of pain had just shuddered through him.

"How did you two wake up?" he asked.

For a moment, neither spoke.

A look of fury shot across his face and the man reached down and extracted the pistol on his hip from its holster. "I asked you a fucking question!" he snapped, pointing the barrel directly into Mark's face.

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