Chapter 14: The Catacombs

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Jennifer felt better than she had in a long time as they gathered by the left exit to the command room. Better than she had since landing on this miserable fucking rock. They had a plan now, an actual goal in mind that they knew how to complete. The fact that one of them was likely going to have to die to do it was...very problematic, but there was at least an option, a viable means of ending this. Because the thought of being trapped here forever, undying and eternally in pain...well, she didn't believe in hell, but this was sure close enough.

However, as soon as she opened the door and stepped out, that feeling immediately went away. Because someone shoved a knife into her thigh. It sliced right through the armor and into her flesh. Cold agony washed over her leg as she shrieked in pain and fury. As she turned to face her attacker, a pale man wearing the ragged remains of what might have once been a scientist's jumpsuit, she felt pure fury rise up in her.

Screaming, she grabbed his head and began smashing it repeatedly into the wall next to her. Her vision went red and at some point she heard something crack wetly, like dropping an overly ripe watermelon from a great height onto concrete. Reality seemed to bend and it was like she was coming out of a bad nightmare. She was lying on the floor with Eric and Greg holding her down and her leg was on fire.

"What the fuck-fuck that hurts!" she growled.

"Hold fucking still!" Parker snapped. She looked down and saw the medic crouched over her leg, a section of her armor off.

"Hurry it up, doc, we don't have a lot of time," Drake said.

"Your femoral artery was missed," Parker muttered. "This is gonna hurt."

"What-FUCK!" Jennifer yelled as Parker poured something into the wound.

"I know, I know," she muttered.

Amid all this pain and confusion, Jennifer flashed back to her tenure aboard the Cimmerian, when she'd done basically the same thing to Mark.

"Jennifer, you kind of went berserk on us," Greg said. "Smashed someone's head in."

"Oh God..." she moaned. "I fucking killed him."

"I know...Jennifer, I'm sorry," Greg said quietly.

"Done," Parker said. "It'll hold." She put the armor back in place and they pulled her up.

"I don't know what happened," she said. "I just-everything went red and..." She trailed off as she saw the mess to her right. A body lay bolted to the floor. The remains of its shattered skull and brains were smeared all over the wall next to it. She had done that? Jennifer felt her gorge rise and for a second she thought she was really going to throw up. But she managed to control it, barely. The burning pain in her thigh helped.

"We need to prioritize non-lethal takedowns from now on, now that we know we should be able to save people," Greg said.

"I killed him..." Jennifer groaned sickly.

"We have to get going," Drake said tightly.

"Can you walk?" Eric asked.

"I have to...he's right, let's move," Jennifer said, reigning in control of herself. As they started hurrying down the corridor, she cast one, last glance over her shoulder at the man she'd killed. The man who was still horribly, impossibly alive, twitching and bucking against the restraint of the bolts. She had never lost control like that in her life. Not once. She'd heard of the phrase 'seeing red' but never thought that something like that could actually happen. But that's what it had been like: a horrible bloody film creeping over her vision, turning the whole world red, and then she'd been gone, except she wasn't completely gone.

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