Chapter 05: Research

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Another office complex.

Greg sighed as he made his way into it, this one less a straightforward collection of corridors and more of a maze of cubicles. At least, he tried to comfort himself, he didn't have to search this one. Unfortunately, it was occupied by hostile forces. He could just barely see the tops of several Fiends as they scurried about the cubicle maze. He absolutely hated the things. They were genuinely disturbing...and he'd seen a lot of disturbing shit in his time. There was something just so...vile, so repugnant, about them, about their basic shape, their lack of a head and their gaping chest holes and their strange acidic hairs.

He moved quickly through the complex, shouldering his SMG tightly and putting down the five Fiends that roamed the narrow alcoves. He slapped a fresh magazine in as he came to the exit of the complex. Passing through the door, he entered a heavily secured area. An enormous silver door, locked up tight, awaited him.

It didn't budge when he tried to open it. He keyed his radio. "Eric, I'm at a locked door, the exit from the office complex, looks like some pretty heavy security. Can you open it?"

"Uh...yeah, hold on," Eric replied.

"What's behind this door?"

"Not sure. All it says is Research Bay One. Cameras are down. I'll need a minute to get them back online."

"Great."

"It's opening now."

Even as he said it, there was a whirring sound from inside of the door and it began to slide away, disappearing into its niche. Greg readied himself. What lay beyond was indeed a research bay, though it was such a generic, harmless name for such a perverse, malignant location. At first glance, it reminded Greg of the conversion bays he'd seen in Erebus's installation. But this room was more...sophisticated, he supposed.

The men and women who worked here were human, with human concerns and, perhaps, delusions. They didn't see themselves as butchers or monsters but as people of science and illumination. Greg wasn't entirely sure which one he hated more, Erebus or whoever had been running this place. How many test subjects had there been for the Mutants? Or maybe as fodder for the Shadows to study their method of murder?

He didn't want to think about it, or look at the still alive and struggling Mutants that were strapped down to two rows of examination tables that took up the left side of the room. Or the Shadows that occupied a row of glass chambers along the right side.

"Jesus," he muttered, pulling out his pistol and walking up to the first of the Mutants that were clamped down to the examination tables.

He placed the barrel against the chest of the first squirming subject and squeezed the trigger. The gunshot stilled and silenced the Mutant. Greg quickly moved down the line, killing those that were still alive. As he turned and considered what to do about the Shadows, he suddenly heard a tremendous, deep growl come from somewhere nearby, followed by loud, heavy footfalls. Great, now what the fuck was he going to have to deal with?

"Uh, Eric, something big is coming my way. Can you help me out?"

"Hold on, I just got the cameras back online...what the hell is that!? Greg, get out of there, it's big and looks pretty lethal," Eric replied quickly.

"Where the hell am I supposed to go!? We need that antidote!"

"Um...fuck, I guess you'll have to kill it. Listen, the research bays you're in, they're basically organized in a square, one leading to another. I'm going to open up all the doors to give you some breathing room."

A tremendous bang resounded through the research bay and a door to the left shuddered in its frame. "Ah fuck, just do it!" Greg snapped, raising his SMG.

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