Chapter 13: Perseus

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They slid in through the gaping maw that was the primary airlock of the central hangar for the Perseus. A red-hued gloom awaited them beyond the glass of the cockpit windows. Nothing moved. All was still in the vast bay. Fine by Greg. It could be dark and still so long as it stayed that way. He could put up with that, so long as there weren't things in the darkness. He continued studying the hangar as Drake settled the shuttle down and killed the engines. He flipped on the exterior lights, cutting brilliant white shafts in the gloom.

"Looks like our LZ is clear," he murmured.

"Our first objective must be to secure a map," Volker said.

"You don't have one?" Greg asked as they left the cockpit.

The doctor shook his head. "No. I didn't get to spend much time up here. They wanted me on Tempest first, then Polaris. But it should be easy."

"Nothing's ever easy," Greg muttered.

They all prepared themselves for what lay beyond, sealing up their suits and making sure they were topped off with oxygen. Once they were ready, Greg and Genevieve went through the airlock first, cycling through and moving out into the area beyond. They marched down the stairs, rifles at ready, sweeping the muzzles across the area.

"We're still clear out here," Greg said. "Come on through."

The others quickly cycled through and once they were all out of the shuttle, they made their way across the hangar, checking the shadows for signs of life, for threats. The place was eerily quiet. Of course, sound wouldn't travel through a vacuum anyway. Anything could be in there with them. Which among the creatures could survive in the dead of open space? Hopefully, none of them. They finished crossing the bay and found a terminal.

"Give me a minute," Eve said as she set to work on it, trying to pull data from it.

Greg turned back around, staring the way they'd come. He studied the area, which was thrown into a sharp relief by the lights from the ship. Shadows lurked behind other vehicles that had survived being sucked out into space and some scattered crates. He wondered if there were Shadows in those shadows and he hunted around for glowing blue embers in the darkness. After several minutes, Eve let out a huff of frustration.

She began to speak, but then he saw it.

Those eyes. Two glowing blue eyes...

No. Four.

Eight.

Twelve.

"Contacts!" Greg roared as he sighted one of the Shadows across the bay and opened fire. The three-round burst hit it dead center in the chest and popped it. The thing dissipated into the air and it was like a cue for the others. They stopped lurking and broke into a dead sprint across the open space. In the hard, sharp clarity of the lights from the shuttle, they were horrifying to look at. Lithe, slightly trembling outlines of darkness in the vague shape of a human. Greg shifted aim and fired again, killing another one. Around him, the others opened up, putting them down. It was horrifying to watch the way they moved and died, just drifting away into the air like blood in the water. The absolute silence only made the experience creepier.

As the last one fell, they all looked around again, making sure they were alone. Once he confirmed they were, Greg spoke up. "What's happening, Eve?" he asked.

"I can't find any real information. All I have is a map of this deck, that's it. We need to get into some kind of security center. If we can get to one of those, I should be able to hack in and get us some more pertinent information."

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