“Who-who-” she groans, taking your hand after a moment's hesitation.
“We need to get you to the tram. 4-27', do you read me? That engineer just came out of the core, but she's hurt. I don't have enough medical packs for this,” you say into the comm. You are replied with static.
“4-27', do you copy? 4-2795, respond!” you yell, watching about nervously as the shadows seem to grow larger.
“Do you have magnetized armor? I got down here from way up there,” Norton says, pointing up to the seemingly endless tube above.
“Yeah but I just came down from the upper levels, it's going to hell up there. Do you know if there's a transport-”
“Radikov, report!” you hear someone say over the comm channels. It's got encryption on it, but somehow it's coming through with only some distortion. You begin looking at the pieces of data you're getting, maybe it's another group of soldiers-
“Relax boss, I'm on the move and sabatoge is complete. You lose the suits?” you hear someone reply. Well, now you know who caused this fucking mess.
“I'd prefer we get out of here in one piece, Radikov. Have you got a transport setup?” the first voice ask.
“Vandal's good as dead, the Director sent her on a suicide-” Radikov begins to say.
“I am afraid you're wrong in that respect, Radikov. I just had to leave another man behind because they found Vandal alive! It's just me and one other soldier now. I'm going to set the cargo tram we're on to overload once we reach the coordinates I gave you. If those two idiots manage to survive that, then just shoot on sight,” you drop your gun as you hear this. 4-2795
“What is it?” Norton asks, grabbing your rifle off the floor.
“We are fucked that's what. We're on our own, period, and someone named Radikov apparently wants to kill you really badly. And I think the squad leader I came down here with is working with him!” you say, taking the rifle as she hands it to you.
“Well you made it this far, and so have I. I've got a plasma cutter, a ripper, a line gun, heck even a core extractor. We-ugh,” she grabs at her ribs as she leans against a railing. “We can get out of this, we just have to be faster than them. I take it they're making a run for it?”
“Yeah, they said about a transport.... wait, if it was my squad leader then I might still be able to use my RIG locator!” you say, activating it hastily. “Oh hell yes! Alright, saving it now.”
As it reaches 85%, the data link cuts out. Looks like 4-2795 is paying attention.
“Okay, I've got most of it. Hand me a plasma cutter clip, I should have a standard issue one in my RIG pack,” you say, turning to Norton.
Norton straps her helmet back on and her RIG syncs to yours.
“Lets show those Markerheads what they get for screwing with us.”
As you rush down the innards of the Sprawl, you keep one hand steadily tracking the locator's path, twisting and turning at more points than you'd like. At least you can use your hand out to balance the plasma cutter. Your rifle's ready in case you need it, but for some reason you feel safer with the cutter.
“So, Norton, what's with the Vandal bit?” you ask as you start heading down a long hall.
“It's a codename. The Unitologists sent me a mission, gave me a voice modifier in this helmet, and fooled me into help cause this whole fucking mess. I was supposed to be trying to fix things by helping the Director but one of the Unitologists tricked me twice. Tyler, he's probably that Radikov you said was talking to your squad leader 4-27'. The bastard got me to open up the public sector to those monsters. I've killed more of them today than you'd believe...” Norton said, her voice distorted but still understandable.
“What about you?” she asks, “What's your story?”
“I was just in the public sector before all this started. I'm usually a guard at the Concourse. 4-2795 got me stuck with his group and my day's been going to shit from there on,” you say.
“Well maybe we've finally hit rock bottom then. No where but up?” Norton said.
“I wouldn't say that-” you start to say. Then there's a crashing noise. It's far away, but it's loud. “Norton, how big do these things get?”
“As big as they can – you saw that thing in the core. There are mobile ones that aren't much smaller. We need to get going if that's what I think it was,” Norton says.
Even as you move faster, you can hear every now and then another crashing noise. The metal shakes a little now, with every crash, and you swear that smell from before is coming back stronger than ever.
As you near a docking bay, suddenly the crash comes from the level above.
“How much farther are we from their coordinates?” Norton asks as she gets her ripper out.
“We've got roughly five to three hundred meters. Hand me that line gun!” you say, grabbing as she tosses it. “This better work...”
You switch to the timed-charge mode and fire off three charges, sticking them on the floor behind you.
They explode as exit into the docking bay, and you turn just in time to see something huge fall down to the next floor, it's giant mouth screaming so loud you can barely think.
“That's only going to make it angrier!” Norton yells as the floor behind you begins to try to burst out beneath you.
“How is it moving so fast down there?” you ask as you pass empty launch pads.
“It's not alone!” Norton replies.
As you jump over the a crate, suddenly little screaming beasts spew out of the floor's holes, trying to grab onto you with razor sharp teeth.
“Get in front!” Norton yells, shoving you ahead as she fires off a blade.
She keeps it whirling behind her as you both near the exit.
“Hazardous contamination in the area. Docking bay locking down...” the overhead AI begins to drone.
You burst through closing doorway, and turn to see Norton right behind. There's more of them now, not just tiny ones. There's bodies, dead bodies, and they're as twisted up as something out of a slasher flick.
“Come on!” you yell to Norton.
She slides through, releasing the gravity lock on the blade and sending it flying into the beasts. She's barely keeping a breath.
“That lock isn't going to hold them,” Norton begins muttering to herself, backing away quickly.
“We're almost there. Should just be around this bend-” you say, following the RIG link.
As you turn, you can see a man at a doorway. He's got a gun in his hand and his other hand is on a control panel.
“Give my regards to Vandal,” Radikov says, pulling the trigger.
Everything goes white after that, you can hear a crashing noise and Norton yelling... but then nothing...