Behind? Catch up now,
A rhythmic hammering was coming from Sennett’s door when Lee and Bobby passed. “What’s that?” Bobby asked, wide-eyed.
“A member of our team,” Lee said. He gave a sharp knock on the office door. “It’s me. I found another survivor.”
The door opened sharply. Sandi glanced out into the hallway, then moved aside to let them in.
“Hurry and get that closed,” Lee said. He bustled himself and Bobby into the room, setting him on the chair before rustling through Wesley’s bag for his med kit.
“While you were gone a whole crowd of berserkers went past,” Etta said. She hugged herself, looking towards the closed door while Marcella and Sandi moved the desk back in place. “We weren’t sure if you were going to make it back.”
“My fault, sorry,” Lee said, “Those soldiers were a little more homicidal than I was expecting. I had to let the berserkers in the dining hall go to get away from them.” He stopped and chewed on his thumbnail. “I wonder how many of them we lost there.”
“We’ve all got blood on our hands after this,” Etta said, “Best to not think about it. We did what we had to do to survive.”
“You really think you can cure these people?” Bobby asked. He took the offered medical wipe and started cleaning off his face and hands. “You’ve seen what they are. They’re brain dead. There’s no coming back from that.”
“There is,” Lee said, “The rest of my team is looking for the cure right now. They should be back soon.”
Sandi brought Bobby a bottle of water. She looked him up and down, his eyes narrow. “I don’t know you,” she said.
“Do you know everyone?” Bobby chuckled.
“Company station. Everybody knows everybody,” Sandi said.
“Guess not,” Bobby said. Turning to Lee, he said, “What’s the IHP doing here? I thought you were all on Earth.”
“Not all,” Lee said, “It’s a big universe and people still need looking after.”
“So is that what you’re doing here? Looking after people? How do you expect to bring these people back from the dead?” Bobby shook his head. “We should be getting out of here and decimating the place.”
“But they’re not dead,” Marcella said, “They’re not really sick.”
“I think the guy needs some rest,” Lee said quickly, “He’s been in that pantry, hiding from those things for days. Probably hasn’t had five minutes of sleep.”
“But they’re not sick,” Marcella said, oblivious to Lee’s silent plea to shut the hell up. “It’s nanites that are doing this. All we have to do is get rid of them. That’s what this cure does.”
“Yeah, but a lot of these people have suffered severe brain damage,” Bobby said, “The nanites might be the only things keeping them standing.”
Ginny gripped the armrest. “That’s not true. The cure is going to save them.”
“You can’t know that,” Bobby said.
“Let’s calm down,” Marcella said, “Guy I don’t know, my sister in law is one of the people turned. So can you please keep your bad thoughts to yourself right now?”
“Won’t it be the same if the cure doesn’t work?” Bobby asked.
“What if he’s right?” Etta asked, “What if we can’t save them?”
“No sense worrying until there’s something to worry about,” Lee said calmly. “One way or another, this is the plan for now. If it doesn’t work we’re no worse off then we are right now.”
“Except for Detective Montgomery,” Etta said.
Just then a snapping sound announced the return of Evelyn, Wesley, and Fernie. “Found it!” Fernie said proudly, holding up a silver suitcase.
Evelyn looked at Bobby. “Who’s this?” she asked.
“Another survivor,” Lee said, “I found him in the pantry of the dining hall.”
“I thought the dining hall was full of berserkers,” Evelyn asked.
“Funny story about that,” Lee said, “I kind of had to let them all go to stop a cleaner crew.”
“What the hell, Man?” Evelyn cried, “We weren’t gone that long!”
“Is this your whole party?” Bobby asked, “Four agents to handle all of this?”
“There were more of us when we got here,” Evelyn said, “And who the hell are you to be questioning things? Sounds like my man had to pull you out from behind the oatmeal.”
“Just checking,” Bobby said. He lifted his hand, holding a small silver object. He pressed the button on the front, and a beam of light flashed around the room.
Lee and Evelyn didn’t hesitate. They pulled their icers and fired at him. Nothing happened.
“Electric disrupter,” Bobby said, standing casually, “All of your electronic devices are now useless.”
Fernie dropped the case and jumped for Bobby. He pulled an electric pistol from his pocket and shot her. She fell to the ground and didn’t move.
“Fernie!” Evelyn screamed.
“Don’t move,” Bobby said, pointing at her, “She’s dead anyway.”
“What the hell is this?” Lee growled.
“I’m cleansing this station,” Bobby said, “All of these inferior races living here, side by side with humans like they’re people. For what, for science? Is that how cheap our loyalty is?”
“You sick fucker,” Evelyn said, “You’re a Core member!”
“We worked so hard to make this little accident happen,” Bobby spat, “Good women and men sacrificed themselves for this. Do you think I’m going to let a group of traitors ruin it? That cure’s going to stay right here.”
“Innocent people died because of this,” Sandi growled, advancing on Bobby, “Children died!”
“They’re better off,” Bobby said, pointing his pistol at her. “Better than to be sold off to these alien races.”
With Bobby’s back to him, Lee jumped. He tackled him to the floor, his shoulder screaming. Evelyn grabbed one arm, Lee the other. “Someone move that desk, and get Sennett’s door open!” Lee called.
Bobby struggled while the others moved to clear the way. Evelyn apparently wasn’t being gentle with him, Lee heard his shoulder dislocate.
“You think this was such a glorious idea?” Lee asked, “You should see it face to face.”
Sandi pulled Sennett’s door open.
Sennett was kneeling on the floor. She stood smoothly, her red eyes glowing, her steel gun in her hands. Lee shoved Bobby in front of her, and she fired six times into his chest.
Wesley darted forward with Marcella. He pulled her arms behind her, while Marcella put an injector against her neck and shot it.
Sennett struggled, hissing at them. Then she seemed to melt, falling against Wesley. Her eyes closed, her body went limp.
Wesley lifted her and carried her to the couch. They left Bobby to bleed out in the hall.
“I said I didn’t recognize him,” Sandi said.
Copyright © 2017 by Nicole C. Luttrell
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