Chapter 01: Isolation

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Pain.

It always seemed to start with pain.

Specifically, in this case at least, it was in his head. Greg shifted and groaned quietly as he was unceremoniously dumped back in the land of the conscious. He laid there with his eyes closed, trying to take stock of the situation.

What was wrong this time?

How drunk, exactly, had he gotten and what, exactly, had he done?

Keeping his eyes closed, he began running his hands along his arms and chest, trying to feel if he had any bruises or sore spots. But as he did this, he frowned, sensing something was wrong. No blankets.

He sighed. "Babe, come on, give the blankets back," he groaned. No response. "Vanessa, come on," he said.

Still nothing.

Sighing, he reached over his right shoulder. His hand collided with something hard, solid, and entirely unyielding. Something that absolutely should not have been there. "Fuck!" he snapped, opening his eyes and pulling his hand back.

That's when it occurred to him that something was very wrong. He found himself staring up at an unfamiliar ceiling of sterile white tile. And something was wrong with his bed, too. Primarily: it wasn't a bed.

Greg sat up immediately, a growing fear slowly turning his insides to ice, and realized with horror the truth of the situation.

He was not in his own bedroom.

In fact, he was not aboard the Dauntless. There wasn't anywhere on the ship that looked like this. The aesthetic of this place was different. So where in the fuck was he? And why did his head hurt? As he gently probed his head for wounds, he studied the room he was in. It was small, clearly a cell of some kind, a holding room. He'd been resting on a flat metal slab sticking out of the wall meant to serve as a cot. It just had a thin pad, a flat pillow, and a simple blanket on it, all of which he'd been lying on top of.

The room itself was mostly just sterile white tile. No windows, only two vents, both of them tiny and tightly sealed, not even able to be opened. Only a single door, firmly closed, no way to open it from inside. Or so it seemed. Greg found that there were no external wounds on his head and, after another search, his body, either. Though he had some bruises. And he was wearing a generic blue jumpsuit that he didn't recognize.

Where in the fuck was he?!

Greg got up off the cot. He swayed briefly as he stood, his equilibrium thrown off. He spent a moment trying to remember how he might have gotten here, but his thoughts were a confused, incoherent mess. He made himself stop, clearing his head for the moment. Then, once his mind was settled, (or as settled as it was going to get), he began slowly going over the room, trying to find either a way out or a clue as to where he was.

He began trying to remember, going back to the end of his last mission.

They'd killed Erebus and rescued Allan, but they'd lost Mertz and Porter in the process. His relationship with Eve hadn't really recovered. The government had been on their ass, going over the Dauntless with a fine-toothed comb for...well, they wouldn't say what they were looking for. Greg and the others had gone on a week-long vacation on Mezzanine. It had been nice. He'd ended up inviting Vanessa Martel to go with him, kind of like, with him specifically, as his date, since they were already kind of-sort of involved.

It had been a good vacation, and he'd needed it, because once they got back, everything kind of turned to shit.

He'd spent whatever time he could with Allan and Callie, but it was difficult because the investigators were all over the place all the time. They'd asked him all sorts of questions, some of which he hadn't been able to answer because they pertained to his past. They'd had him go over everything, from Dis to Rogue Ops to Ash to his most recent mission. They'd asked a lot of questions about his decisions, his relationships with the others onboard, (that had been kind of weird to talk about), his perks and payments.

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