Chapter 16: Auxiliary

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Greg sighed heavily as the airlock finished draining. They were back inside. His heart was still hammering in his chest and he imagined it would be a little while before it went back to normal. Not that his pulse ever fell to normal during one of these fucking missions. His thigh was aching badly now that his adrenaline levels were falling and as he stepped out of the airlock bay he had a slight limp. Grimacing, he cleared the area, finding himself in a vacant corridor, though he thought he could hear some kind of movement not too far away.

"Sit," Mertz said as he came out, unclipping the medical kit from his belt. "Now," he added when Greg began to protest.

Sighing heavily and wanting to be free of the pain, and to confirm that no serious damage had been done, Greg acquiesced to Mertz's command and sat down slowly on the floor, keeping his rifle nearby and watching their environment.

"I think you're fine," he said as he began taking off the plate of armor covering the wound. "But we need to be sure. Don't worry, I'll be quick."

"Thanks," Greg replied. He activated the comm. "Callie, sorry about earlier. Erebus tried to kill us. It blew the pressure in the control room and we got thrown outside. Had to tangle with the local wildlife, but we're fine now. What's your status?"

"That's good to hear. Keron and I are getting closer to the first auxiliary generator."

"All right. Mertz and I are going to come up with another plan, talk to you later."

"Later."

"What's our other plan?" Mertz asked as he pulled back a torn portion of his jumpsuit. He'd bled a lot, but it looked like it had clotted. The wounds were long, thin, and neat. Also ugly. Mertz started cleaning the area.

Greg hissed briefly in pain and made himself focus. "I saw another area like the one we were going to on the map. If we are where I think we are, we should be able to get there. There's no way Erebus will blow both of his command centers or data cores or whatever. It's got to store itself somewhere digitally."

"I guess you have a point there," Mertz replied. "Get ready, this is going to hurt."

Greg began to ask what was going to hurt when a blinding, searing white-hot pain enveloped his leg. He let out a strangled yell as Mertz poured some antiseptic into the wound. Breathing heavily, closing his eyes, reminding himself that he'd been through way, way worse not all that long ago, he fought for control.

"Thanks," he growled through gritted teeth.

"Happy to help," Mertz replied cheerily. He put bandages over the wounds. "This will have to do for now," he said, reattaching the armor.

Greg sighed heavily and ran another suit-check. While he was waiting for it to complete, he popped some painkillers and then slowly got to his feet. Looking around, he confirmed that they were still alone in the corridor. Once his suit-check came back and he saw that there were no problems with it, he set off again, moving slowly down the passageway, trying to recall the map. Ironically, Greg actually had a pretty decent memory for maps and things like that. He thought it was funny, given that he'd lost all of his memories before a year ago, but he supposed it made enough sense. He'd lost his cached memories, not his ability to make new ones.

That was as intact as ever.

As he started navigating the corridors, he realized how much he was...well, okay, enjoying wasn't the right word. But how much he was...accustomed to this. Accustomed to insanity. Accustomed to roaming metal corridors with insane things out for his blood, monsters or zombies or meat machines, whatever the creature of the fucking week was. This was his life. Having to adapt to situations as they were thrown at him, having to scrounge for ammo, having to keep himself in one piece. Other people got used to going to work as technicians or waitresses or cargo shifters, and he'd ended up getting used to something that was, in and of itself, un...get-used-to-able. He'd adapted to reacting to the unpredictable.

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