Chapter 18: Complications

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"Tell me you've got something," Mertz said.

"I've got something," Greg replied, but he wasn't ready to leave. Not yet. He did understand the medic's anxiety though. They'd lingered here for what felt like far too long now and still nothing had shown up. Something had to be on its way, Erebus knew where they were and seemed all too happy to send a lot of horrific hostiles their way. He'd found out a few pertinent facts and he thought that they had enough to go off of, to throw a loose plan together, but he wanted more information, and there seemed to be a lot here.

"Then can we go?" Mertz asked.

"Yeah, in a minute," Greg replied.

"We should go now."

Greg hesitated and looked back at him. "Why? What's wrong?"

"I don't know, just a bad feeling."

He took a quick look around, knowing it to be true. There was an oppressive tension on the air that had been mounting steadily over the past several minutes. He sighed and turned back to the console. "One more thing, then we'll go," he replied.

"Fine," Mertz murmured, keeping watch.

There was something that Greg needed to hunt down. He'd found a reference to a heavy weapons armory somewhere in the facility and he needed to find out where the hell it was, because they could sure use some heavier weapons. As he continued his hunt, a strange thought occurred to him, and it sparked off another one. Why would Erebus have an armory? He supposed it might make enough sense, except that the AI didn't arm its soldiers in the traditional sense. It surgically grafted the guns into them. But he supposed it had to store them somewhere. But that thought sparked the bigger one: what was wrong with this base.

It was too...human.

Why wasn't the base more designed for machines? This facility was built, as far as he knew, by Erebus. Why put it underwater, for that matter? Why have these traditional corridors and rooms, built to human specifications? Why not make it more efficient? Design it for his creatures? It was so strange. A lot of things Erebus was doing were strange. Greg's train of thought derailed as he finally found what he was looking for.

The armory wasn't all that far from their present location. Perfect.

"Okay," he said, turning, "let's get the hell-"

He froze, looking first left, then right. He spied two midnight black beings with almost glowing silver swords sprouting from one of their wrists.

"Hostiles!" he screamed, aiming for one of them. Neither him nor Mertz had heard or seen them enter the room. They didn't seem so much physical beings as things of shadow and darkness, save for the brilliant polished single silver blade each of them sported and the glowing yellow eyes. Silent as death, each of the assassins began to move towards their intended target. Greg grabbed for his rifle, which he'd set beside him, leaned up against the console. As he did, the dark assassin coming for him suddenly leaped forward.

Greg's body reacted before his mind could and he dropped into a crouch, snagged his rifle and dove away from the assassin. As he landed on his back, he aimed up and fired. The three-round burst would have, should have, hit the dark figure but it had already moved and was making for him, polished silver blade aimed forward. Greg rolled to the side, barely avoiding the blade. He heard as much as saw a spark of metal on metal as the blade glanced off the deckplates. He adjusted his aim and fired once more.

Yet again, the assassin dodged out of the way with apparent ease. Cursing, he kept up his rate of fire while digging in his heels to push himself backwards. It felt ridiculous but he had no time to get to his feet and from the glancing shots and cursing coming from across the room, it seemed that Mertz wasn't having much luck either. Greg knew he had to end this quick. He kept firing, forcing the assassin to keep on the defensive, until he ran out of ammo. As that last three-round burst was fired, two of the shots actually connected.

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