Chapter 15: Downfall

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"So how are we supposed to find this guy?" Jennifer asked. "And who is he, anyway?"

They were back underground again after recovering the data and getting their wind back. Now more than ever Jennifer was lamenting not having a suit of power armor. She'd never worn one before, only regular body armor.

"His name is Matheson. He's a scientist. A genius, apparently. Since you're either going to die or join us, I'll fill you in, I guess. The guys we're fighting, they used to work for the Galactic Alliance. They were like...well, like a bigger version of what I do now. They dealt with unique, weird situations. Well, exploited them, actually. But then they went rogue and became Rogue Operations. I and a handful of others were...culled, I guess, to put them down."

"A handful of people put down an entire branch of the government?"

"We had a lot of help. They mostly destroyed themselves, too. And we got lucky pretty often. But yeah. Anyway, this guy, Matheson, turned on them, offered to give us information, though I think he was just looking out for himself. He saw which way the winds were blowing and figured why not get back on the winning side? We rescued him from a bad situation and turned him over to the authorities. Apparently he didn't like how they were treating him, so when Enzo came calling, he decided to switch back over again."

"And now...we're supposed to capture him?"

"Yeah."

"Why?"

"Well, presumably so they can try to milk more of his genius out of him from a prison cell, I imagine."

"Maybe we should just kill the guy. Someone with that much potentially dangerous knowledge and that lacking in morals seems absurdly dangerous."

"I was having similar thoughts..."

They both fell silent as they heard gunshots. Pistol reports and someone cursing, followed by a loud moan. The pair rushed down the corridor they were standing in and came to a heat exchange room, the walls made of piping and workstations, everything bathed in a crimson glow. Power had died again in some areas and was functioning only somewhat decently in others. More gunshots came from the left, down a narrow alcove.

"Come on," Drake said. "I think that might be him."

"How can you tell?" Jennifer asked as he rushed into the alcove.

"I remember his voice."

For a moment, she felt the press of the narrow alcove around her. All she could see ahead was Drake's bulky power armored back, and the gunshots were getting louder, closer. Then, suddenly, the walls fell away and they were in a much larger room. A bald man wrapped in a bloodied white jumpsuit stood in the middle of a half-dozen advancing zombies. Drake raised his rifle and began picking the things off, so Jennifer helped. They each took down half. When all was still and silent, Drake shifted his rifle to the bald man.

"Doctor Matheson," he said.

"Oh dear, I seem to recognize you," the man replied. "From the frozen planet with the cyborgs," he murmured.

"Yeah. I'm here to place you under arrest. The government would like a word with you."

"And if I refuse?" Matheson asked.

Drake shifted his aim slightly and fired. The bullet just barely missed his right ear and buried itself in the wall behind him.

"Ah...I see," Matheson murmured. "Very well then, I suppose I-" He froze and stopped speaking as heavy footfalls sound.

"Aw fuck!" Drake groaned.

Jennifer turned to spy a Titan pushing its way into the room.

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