Chapter 15: Saturate

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There were skeletons laid out across it, bleached bone in suits of armor.

"Fuck," he whispered as he set off.

He was at least grateful that he wasn't doing this alone. Although the fact that he wasn't by himself meant that his friends were at risk and he hated putting them at risk more than he did himself. If they died, he had to live with it. And he didn't really live with it all that well. He thought that probably everyone else on the team was stronger than he was, more emotionally stable, more capable of handling loss. It'd probably be easier for them if he died than the other way around. But, all things considered, Greg still liked being alive enough to fight for it.

They hurried down the corridor, took a turn, moved down another passageway and came to the door they needed. He opened it up and cleared the room with a quick sweep of his shotgun. The beam of light revealed walls covered with all sorts of tech and gear and workstations. No Shadows, though. "Clear," he said, stepping inside.

They spread out across the room, checking the corners and the shadows, any small niches that could be hiding places, vent grates, while Eve moved over to the node. Greg glanced over as Drake approached him.

"Hey, you doing okay?" he asked.

"Um...yeah, why?" he replied.

"You look like shit," he answered. Greg snorted and Drake laughed. "You know what I mean. You've been going longer and harder than anyone else here. Jennifer, Eve, and Genevieve were on ice for half the mission and Eric and I were down for the count. You've been going, going, going since the beginning. I just wanted to make sure you're holding it together."

"Yeah...I am," Greg replied after a moment. "For now. I'll be honest, this needs to be over soon. I'm pretty depleted right now. I'm running on empty."

"Almost there," Drake said. "We'll get it done."

"We'll get it done," Greg agreed, feeling some of his lethargy lift. Perception was a weird fucking thing. You could spend hours, days slogging through a horrible situation but when you were near the end, when you should be absolutely dead on your feet, just knowing that it was almost over could give you a huge boost of energy.

And fuck did he need one.

"There," Eve said suddenly. Her statement was followed by a loud click and a hum of power. The lights overhead shined to life, although they weren't nearly as bright as Greg had hoped they would be. But whatever, light was light.

"Thank fuck, can we go to the engines now?" he asked.

"Yes. We'll need to move to the other side of the deck to get there. But it should be easier now at least," Eve replied.

Greg grunted in reply and headed back out into the corridor. He stopped, frowning. "Uh-oh," he said.

"What?" Eric asked.

"Take a look."

They joined him in the corridor. Back the way they'd come, the lights were out. The light from their current location only reached so far.

"Some light's better than none. Come on, we can't linger," Genevieve said, heading off.

With a sigh, Greg followed after her.

Why couldn't anything ever be easy?

Just even one fucking thing?

They hurried down the length of the hall and then paused at the edge of the darkness, shining their lights into it. No Shadows were waiting. They quickly moved through it and then passed through a door beyond it, coming into the first major leg of their journey: the ship's oxygen plant. The room was long, broad and mostly dark. From what little Greg could see, there were immense silver tanks to either side of them. Huge pillars ringed with piping and supporting all manner of equipment and life-sustaining gear provided a kind of central wall, running down the middle of the room. In between the pillars and tanks were open areas.

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