Chapter 03: Away

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The first thing on her list was to check the other hangars. There were three in total and she'd had a brief tour of the facility. She remember seeing ships in all three of the hangars. Moving quickly, Jennifer marched down the cargo ramp and hurried across the hangar, dodging between stacks of crates and greasy workbenches. Her mind honed down to a sharp focus as she stepped through the connecting door that led to the next of the three hangars. It was just as cluttered and littered with the mishmash of material and equipment that made up an industrial site such as this. There was no clear view of the area as a whole.

Letting out a frustrated sigh, Jennifer marched over to the nearest stack of crates and clambered up it. She hauled herself to the top and stood up, taking a long look around. This bay was even more packed with crap and clutter than the previous one, however, it did not have any ships. In fact, she could see a pair of large open spaces where ships had once been. Jennifer clambered back down off the crates and began hastily navigating the stacks and shelves. As she made her way to the third hangar, Jennifer found her mind wandering again.

She'd faced down the undead horrors that were the Necro creatures about two weeks ago and, although initially her reaction had been terror, she'd overcome it quickly enough to survive. In her heart of hearts, she'd always suspected and, well, if she was being honest with herself, hoped, that there was something else out there. Something more. The unknown, the paranormal, the extraterrestrial had always fascinated her from a young age. She remembered going onto the ultranet when she was a child and looking up weird stories.

Spacial anomalies, unexplained disappearances, mysterious alien artifacts, they'd all interested her more than anything else.

But, as she'd gotten older and reality had kind of smashed her into submission, as it did with most people, she had to put these fantasies and obsessions aside. She even remembered going through a sort of anti-unknown phase, a period in her life, in her late twenties, when she regarded the obsession as an artifact of immature childhood.

As she'd gone into her thirties, though, she remembered rediscovering this passion one day when she was bored and looking for a new book. She came across a mystery conspiracy theory novel about a godlike entity emerging from a black hole. It had re-sparked her imagination and once again she'd gone in search of any and all things paranormal and cryptic, things that didn't have immediately obvious answers.

When the Necro Virus had hit, there'd been a small part of her that had rejoiced in an odd sort of way. Here it was: undeniable proof that there was, in fact, something more to the universe than humanity, boring old Cyr tech, and uninteresting explanations. It was a weird, kind of guilty feeling, since it was hard to reconcile any kind of rejoicing with so much unnecessary death and destruction, but there it was.

And now, here it was again.

This was different, though.

It seemed that she couldn't face this thing down with a gun, even if she had once. Obviously it hadn't worked for the others. All she could do was flee. To be sure, this thing was extremely interesting. She had a million questions about it. What did it look like? What was it made of? Was it biological? Mechanical? A combination? What were its motivations? Who or what had put it there? What had caused it to wake up?

But it was a little different being trapped with something that you couldn't just shoot in the face and it was dead.

Jennifer reached the final hangar and felt disappointment settle in after searching it. There was no other ship. Winston had been right, there was just the one ship left. And she had to fix it. Speaking of which...

Jennifer jogged back out of the third hangar into the second one. She'd seen a power cell that could be slotted into a jump ship, which should top it off. She hunted around for it for a moment, found it and picked it up. It was heavy but manageable. Grunting with effort, Jennifer hauled it back through the confused labyrinth of the second hangar, feeling for that cold chill that indicated the approach of the...whatever it was.

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