Chapter 20: Environmental Instability

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"Callie, what the fuck is happening!?" Greg demanded. The base had gone dark and now was beginning to groan and shudder around them.

"So, um, we might have fucked up," Callie replied.

"Yes..." he prompted.

"We accidentally destroyed the primary reactor...and apparently it was powering a series of plates built into the hull of this place and...okay, basically, short answer is that without power, this place will succumb to the pressure of the water. We'll be crushed. Now, emergency lights are still on and we didn't all die immediately, so it means that there must be some power left coming from somewhere. I managed to get to a terminal and determined that there are actually some tertiary generators that we overlooked. Only one of them is functioning, for some reason. I think we'll need a minimum of three going."

"So we turn them on," Greg replied.

"Yes. Unfortunately, I don't have time to get to both of them. There's one that should be somewhere around your present location. Find a terminal, access the map while there's still power. The room you're looking for is shaped like a diamond. It should stand out. Get there as quick as you can and turn it on."

Greg sighed heavily. "On it."

Just another fucking stumbling block. At least he was properly motivated. The emergency lights had indeed come on and the whole area was bathed in a deep red light. To make matters worse, the whole base was still trembling as the pressures of the ocean around it threatened to crush them all. Time was most definitely a factor.

"Come on, I saw a terminal back down the corridor," Greg said, turning and jogging back the way they'd come.

Mertz followed him and the pair of them retraced their route back to the terminal he'd spied earlier. Greg quickly booted up the terminal and navigated the menus as fast as he could. The screen was noticeably dimmer than the other terminals he'd used and passed by. Working quickly, he found the map and located their current position. There was indeed a diamond shaped room just a few corridors over.

"Come on," Greg said, hoping that he could get there in time. And that he could figure out how to get the damned generator online.

The pair of them jogged down the corridor and broke right at a T junction, keeping their eyes open in the dim red gloom for hostiles. Anything could be lurking in the shadows. Greg suddenly wondered if Erebus was still online. Maybe if it was offline, cut off from its lifeblood, then the elementals and meat machines would be rendered non-functional as well and this whole thing would be a hell of a lot easier. God, to be able to just do their job and complete their objectives without having to shoot it out every ten fucking minutes with insane robot monsters...

It would certainly be nice.

As Greg neared the end of the passageway he was in, he became aware of a pounding sound. It was erratic and uncertain. He couldn't be sure what was making it. Cold tension crept over him. Cautiously edging up to the corner that would lead him into the next hallway, constantly aware of the slowly worsening trembling all around them, he peered slowly around. His hopes fell as he saw the familiar figure of a fairly large meat machine. He began to ready himself, preparing to kill it, but something made him hesitate.

There was something really odd about this one.

The creature was staggering down the corridor, periodically beating its fists against the wall, denting the metal. It suddenly cut loose with a long, low howl of what sounded like fury and agony. Greg began to raise his rifle.

"What is it?" Mertz whispered.

The creature abruptly snapped its gaze back around to face Greg and the second it laid eyes on him, it began shrieking wildly and sprinting right towards him. Letting out a shout of terror, Greg raised his rifle and opened fire. Unfortunately, between the shaking of the base and his own fear and the erratic movements of the creature, he couldn't land a shot on it. Within seconds the thing was practically in his face and it launched itself at him. Greg grunted as he was shoved down onto his back, the creature on top of him.

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