Chapter 16: Auxiliary

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"I see. How interesting. I'm impressed. I don't suppose you'd be so good as to turn yourselves over to my forces? I really do need more test subjects, and you and your friends would be absolutely perfect," Erebus replied.

"Fuck yourself into oblivion," Greg snapped back.

"I admit, I'm not sure if I know how to do that," Erebus murmured. "No matter. I have more than enough forces in this installation to deal with you all. If we must do this the hard way, then so be it, we shall do this the hard way."

Greg didn't like the sound of that, but he hadn't expected anything else but a fight to the death. One of them wasn't leaving this time. He realized that he actually did know where he was going and that they weren't all that far away from the destination. Now, to discover if he was correct or not, if his guess was on the mark or total BS. He jogged to the end of the corridor they were in with Mertz covering him and hit the access button. The door slid open to reveal another room packed with all manner of equipment and gear.

"Jackpot," he muttered. "Mertz, watch my back. I'm going to see what I can see."

* * *

Callie put down another one of the fire technos with a three-round burst to its face, punching holes through what served as its brain and sending it stumbling backwards. It crashed to the deckplates with a tremendous thud and all was still and silent. She waited, heart pounding, sweat trickling down her, breath coming fast and heavy, but no more malignant monsters came for her and Keron. Several seconds ticked by, and the pair of them quickly began to reload and move forward. She was moving as fast as she could now.

Too much time had passed.

They'd been shooting their way through the corridors and she'd just received an update from Greg. They were making progress, but it didn't feel like enough. The pair of them found the door they'd been looking for and opened it up. The first of the two auxiliary generators awaited them. It was a broad, tall room, tended to by about a dozen silent meat machines, the walls covered in panels and screens and keyboards.

Callie and Keron began taking them out, but they'd just barely finished putting the walking corpses down before two other doors opened up to admit small squadrons of meat machines, each led by more fire technos. Erebus wasn't fucking around anymore. There was no cover in the wide open room, nothing to hide behind. The two of them quickly began strafing while opening fire. Callie plucked one of her few remaining grenades from her belt, primed it and hurled it towards the group nearest to her. It landed in their midst and exploded.

Chrome-studded bits of flesh and coagulated blood mixed with oil flew through the air as about half the meat machines were shredded in the blast. Unfortunately, as she did this, the fire techno stepped forward and began to bathe the area in white-hot flames. Fleeing, she barely managed to avoid the fire, though her suit began chiming warning alarms at her and it grew uncomfortably warm. She dodged and ran, though she didn't have much room to maneuver in. Callie knew she had to put this thing down now.

She spun around, aimed and fired in the tiny window of time available to her. The shots were true: they cleaved straight through its head, piercing its circuitry-wired brain and killing it. It was so weird to see a robot that bled. As it fell, Callie turned and helped Keron clean up the last of his adversaries. Once they were down, she took a look around the area, trying to determine how best to take the auxiliary generator out of commission.

She wanted to blow it up, but they didn't have the resources.

"Shoot whatever looks important," Keron said, as if reading her mind.

She shrugged, figuring that was a good a plan as any right now. They both expended the rest of their magazines putting holes through crucial looking pieces of equipment mounted on the walls. After a little bit of laying down fire, the whole room flickered and then died, becoming dark. All became still and silent.

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