Chapter 14: Glitch

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The airlock finished clanging through its cycle and all fell silent. For a long moment, all they could hear was the dripping of water. Then, another sharp clang filled the bay and the inner doors opened. Greg was taking point, aiming his rifle directly at the crack in the middle where the doors would part. They slid open, revealing a long, dimly lit corridor beyond. Several closed doors awaited them along either side of the metal passageway. Overhead, a few of the lights flickered periodically. After a long moment, Greg stepped out.

Nothing happened.

He listened intently, but there was just the occasional drip of water from the airlock, the quiet whisper of oxygen and the low hum of power. He could hear nothing else. He moved a bit further down the corridor, his boots banging hollowly.

"Split up," he said after another few seconds of nothing happening, "search these rooms. We need to find a map or a general access terminal, anything to give us an idea of what we're looking at and for, to cut down on our time wandering around."

The others split up, making for the nearby doors. Greg walked over to one he'd picked out for himself, studying it for a moment. There was something subtly off about this whole thing, almost like he was looking at an image that was slightly out of focus, or maybe he was looking at a picture of a seemingly ordinary scene, but there was something creepy hidden in the background that his mind was subconsciously picking up on before he had consciously acknowledged it. So what was it? What the hell were his instincts trying to tell him?

Greg reached out and opened the door.

Beyond the threshold was a mostly empty room, about the size of an average storage room. All that occupied it was a rusty shelf and a disused workbench. Nothing here. He left it behind and moved on to the next one, trying to sort through his thoughts and sensory input, trying to ferret out what about this base bugged him. But whatever it was, it seemed buried deep, something fundamental. One of those things that was so obvious that he was missing it. One thing, at least, he knew that was bothering him was the utter lack of life.

In that moment, it felt like they were the only four things moving or alive on the entire station. A crazy notion, given that they'd explored barely more than a few rooms, but it was a hard one to shake. And it was probably intentional.

After another five or so minutes, Callie finally located an access terminal. She called the others over to her and they gathered around it as she plugged into it and started trying to locate and then sort through all the relevant data. Greg wondered what kind of data was even there, what kind of data Erebus would keep in a general access terminal.

"I've got a map," Callie said after a few more moments. The others crowded around her, studying the topographical display on the screen before them. "We're here," Callie said, pointing to a long rectangle with columns on either side of it: the corridor and the side rooms. "Here's what appears to be some key locations," she continued, pointing to different locations on the map. "Judging by the complexity of these areas and the sheer amount of power lines coming into and out of them, I'd say that this is the primary reactor, and these two rooms are auxiliary generators. And I think that this other room, across the base, might be some kind of command structure."

Greg considered everything for a moment. "All right, Mertz and I will take the command structure and try to find out more information on whether or not Allan is here and where he might be if he is. Callie, you should take Keron to the auxiliary generators and take them out, then head for the main reactor and find some way to cut power to Erebus, or possibly find a way to set it to overload if we need a quick and dirty way to blow this place."

"Sounds like a plan," Callie replied. She looked eager to get a move on, and he didn't blame her. He wanted to as well, he was desperate to find Allan, desperate to kill Erebus, desperate to get the hell out of here and be somewhere safer.

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