Chapter 14: Terminate

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Greg tried to keep himself together.

It wasn't easy.

His lethargy was getting to him, and he ached in a lot of different places. His back was killing him, his head throbbed dully and a slow agony was burning across his body, through aching muscles that had been pushed too far too many times just lately. He needed a break. A real one. But they were close. They were almost finished.

He just had to hold it together for a bit longer.

Easier said than done.

The lift holding the squad finished settling into place. The doors opened on a scene of destruction. Nothing new there. Greg took in the spray of blood across the far right wall, the two dead Spec Ops soldiers crumpled in heaps on the floor, the spent shell casings that carpeted the deckplates. He stepped carefully out, clearing left while Drake cleared right. The lobby beyond the service lift was clear, though it was obvious that the deck was still heavily contested territory. They could hear screaming, gunfire, and roaring not all that far away.

"We should deal with the dual-lock system first," Volker said. "And I've been thinking about it. I believe that once we unlock the bridge, I can key it to a security card, meaning that it will stay locked until we get there with the card, meaning no one gets in or out until we're ready to deal with the situation," he explained.

"Sounds great," Greg replied, only half listening as he tried to determine if there were any hostiles nearby. "Same teams as before," he said once he was sure they were clear for the moment. They'd managed to get a map of the science deck and study it enough to plan routes. "We get to the terminals and deal with the lockout."

"Let's go to work," Drake agreed. "We'll stay in contact. Good luck."

"Stay safe," Greg replied.

They stepped out of the lobby and found themselves in a lengthy corridor that was clear for the moment. They split up, each team heading in a different direction. They moved down the passageway and came to its end, then moved through a door that led them into the living quarters areas for the science personnel.

The place was wrecked.

Several doors that led into the small, cramped individual dormitories were broken open and everywhere Greg looked there was blood and overturned furniture and personal items scattered across the carpet.

"Can't believe they had to live this close to the creatures," Jennifer muttered. "I don't think I could do it."

"They must have known what they were getting into," Greg replied.

"Some of them might have. Some might have been forced into it," Genevieve said. "I can't imagine that someone like Blackmore wouldn't be above using such methods as blackmail or coercion."

Greg grunted in reply, figuring she had a point.

How many people had been here against their will, cooking up another Dark Ops?

It didn't seem like people would ever learn that this kind of shit was generally a bad idea. Up ahead, something let out a low growl. With a soft sigh of frustration, Greg took aim as a Mutant stepped out of one of the dormitories. He put a shot through its chest, but even as it fell, another two stepped out into the corridor with them.

"Contacts, six o'clock," Genevieve reported.

The trio opened fire. The seconds bled into minutes as the dormitories complex came to awful, mutated life as Altered crawled out of their hiding places among the doors and other rooms in the area. For several minutes, there was only the sound of gunfire and roaring. Greg burned through a whole magazine, firing single shots into chests and heads with as much quick proficiency as he could manage. He ejected the spent magazine when it ran dry and slammed a fresh one in, then shot his way through that one, too.

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