Chapter 02: Damage

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For the second time that day, Greg awoke to pain.

Only this time it wasn't just his head that hurt, but his whole goddamned body. As an added bonus, he now heard a distant, eerie groaning sound that seemed to resonate within his skull. Greg grunted and snapped his eyes open, anxious fear shooting through him. He knew something was wrong, he shouldn't be in this situation, he was vulnerable. He was in an L shaped corridor, at the bend. Sterilized white-tiled walls surrounded him. He got up onto his knees and stumbled to his feet. But he stood up too quickly and crashed back to the floor, crying out as pain flared across his body. What had he been doing just now...

The room.

The zero atmosphere room.

He'd gone through it. Groaning, amazed that he'd made it through more or less intact, Greg got up onto his hands and knees and hung his head, closing his eyes, waiting for his body to be ready to try standing up again.

He realized that he still had the gasmask on and pulled it off, tossing it aside.

Distantly, he heard that groaning noise. It was definitely not mechanical or artificial in nature. Something was making it. His heart pounding faster in response to the sound, which caused his headache to flare, he grit his teeth and stood up. This time he at least stayed upright. Something was around here with him. No doubt that something was a monster, a lethal entity that would kill him very effectively on sight if he gave it the chance. Greg looked around, trying to determine where the sound had come from, but it had faded.

Sighing, he took stock of the situation. Six more doors to play with. Two of them were positioned at the ends of the hallways and he didn't count the one behind him, the one that led back the way he'd come. Two of them were on the inner walls of the L, so they probably led to the same room, and two more were in the outer walls. He decided to start there. Moving over first to the right, he opened the door and peered in. Just a storage room, shelves shoved up against the walls, some crates piled in the corner, a technician's workbench dominating the center of the room beneath a light centered directly overhead.

He left it alone after making sure it was empty of hostiles and moved on to the second door. Opening it, he found another bathroom that was vacant. Greg made for the first inner door, moving slowly. Jeez, he felt like shit. Pain ran through his body, flaring in some parts. He opened the door and felt a tremendous relief settle over him. He'd been right, both doors led into the same room, and it was a small emergency infirmary.

He almost collapsed at the sight, but he couldn't. Forcing himself to stay upright, Greg turned back around, closed and locked the door he'd just come in through. Then he lurched over to the other door, locking it as well. There was just one other door at the back. He moved to it, opened it up and poked his head inside. It was a changing room that came complete with a shower stall. Greg took a deep breath and let it out.

"Thank fuck," he whispered.

The first order of business was to see what he had to work with. He spent a little bit of time poking through the various cabinets, storage bins, and drawers, coming up with enough medical supplies and painkillers to tide him over. He also managed to find, of all things, another jumpsuit. This one was midnight black and looked a bit more durable, more like something a security officer would wear beneath their armor.


He gathered up all these things and went into the changing room, then closed and locked the door behind him.

First order of business: Greg stripped everything off and took a look at himself in the mirror. He winced when he saw that several blood vessels had burst beneath his skin, a few across his chest, more on his arms. Great. They were ugly, and painful, but there wasn't much he could do about them now. He was glad to see that there wasn't really anything else, no scrapes or burns or cuts, nothing he needed to tend to. With that out of the way, he fired up the shower as hot as it would go and stepped inside. The comfort and pleasure and relief that swept over him was so powerful that he almost passed out. He tried not to linger, as he had no idea what might be going on outside the walls surrounding him, but it was very difficult.

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