Chapter 15: Saturate

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They were back in Shadow territory.

Greg knew it the second he stepped off the lift onto the Engineering Deck and one of them tried to jump him and steal his flesh and meat and organs. He blasted it to hell with a shotgun he'd managed to salvage on the way down. He immediately knew that they were in the shit because the bay beyond was without power.

He couldn't see a thing.

"Fuck me," he whispered. "This is bad news."

"We need to restore power," Volker said softly.

"Lights on," Greg said, flipping on the suit's exterior lights and the one mounted on the end of his shotgun.

The bleak white lights punched holes in the darkness of the vast cargo bay the service lift had deposited them into. The place was scattered with debris from the battle that had raged through it. Their lights revealed the awful, angular shapes of the Shadows, moving in the darkness. Greg felt his pulse quicken as his light fell on one that was running directly towards him. He squeezed the trigger, pounding out a slug shell and killing the monster.

"Open fire!" he called.

They formed a semi-circle and began laying down fire on the Shadows that were emerging from open vent grates in the floor and ceiling, from behind crates, from among the gathering darkness. The gunfire was loud, but an incessant, awful whispering was even louder. Greg pounded out shell after shell, hitting a new Shadow each time, but there were so many of them. Even as he emptied his shotgun, he didn't have time to reload and was forced to pull out his pistol. He kept his shots as careful and accurate as he could.

He managed to kill enough of them that when he needed to reload, there was time to do so. He slapped a fresh magazine into the gun and kept firing, emptying it and then the next one as well. As he reloaded with the last magazine he had on him, the whispering finally died away. They waited for several seconds.

"Okay...how do we figure out how to restore power?" Greg asked.

"We need a terminal," Eve replied. "We find a power cell to hook into it and then we run a diagnostic, get an idea of where we need to go and what we need to do. Look around for Spec Ops suits of power armor, cells from their armor should work fine," she explained.

The team quickly went to work, watching the shifting darkness as close as they could. It didn't take long to find a suit of power armor that was intact enough to recover power cells from. Once they got them to Eve, she tracked down a general access terminal across the bay and hooked them up. The screen flickered to life and she spent several minutes running through the diagnostics procedure. Greg kept watch with the others while she did this. He could occasionally hear whispering or something shifting, but no gunshots.

No one was alive or fighting down here.

This deck belonged entirely to the Shadows.

"Got it," Eve said. "There's a major power junction node that was damaged. If we can get to it, I can fix it, and that should give us power."

"You don't sound too certain about that," Eric replied.

"A lot of damage was done in the fighting," Eve said.

"Great. Fine, let's go," Greg said.

The group moved slowly out of the bay and into a long maintenance room. Greg played his light over workbenches and lockers, tables and shelves. He didn't see any Shadows, or anything else lurking in the darkness. Cautiously, he moved through it, trying to find a good compromise between a brisk pace and a cautious one. A single misstep could result in death in this miserable place. As he reached the far door, he froze up, hearing whispering somewhere nearby. He couldn't tell where it was coming from, let alone if it was in the room with him or not. Finally, he opened the door, grateful at least that the bare basics of emergency power still allowed doors to work. Nothing beyond the door, just another rigid length of metal corridor.

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