The squad double-timed their way portside, were they would wait for the rescue ship.
It was not long, however, before they came upon a barrier to their progress – a collapsed ceiling. It was too big to blow their way through, so they backtracked and took a different route. Once again, they were met by a collapsed ceiling. They retraced their steps yet again, but were met by a blown out wall.
“It seems like we’re being herded,” Cole commented.
“As if they want us to go through a certain place or not to get there at all” Doyle added. All three knew who they were. But the squad didn’t have a name for them. Nothing could accurately describe these monsters, denizens of the shadows. They gave a whole new reason to fear the dark. And there was always the sound of their footsteps echoing in the minds of everyone who encountered them.
The remains of Dagger squad moved along the corridors, weapons loaded and safeties off. The soft sounds of bare feet were constantly echoing around the ship now.
The squad came up on the combat bridge they had left earlier. Cole opened the door, and they moved through the empty room.
Near the other side of the room, Nichols noticed something. He stopped and said, “Wait, what happened to the bodies that were here?”
They had been so busy looking for threats that they hadn’t noticed that the room had been cleared of bodies, including that of the insane marine that they had abandoned. The ship creaked as some debris that had been floating outside the hull rubbed against it.
“I think we should get out of here. Something’s just…” Cole trailed off
“Agreed,” Doyle whispered.
As they exited the bridge, the ship shuddered. The rescue ship had docked at the port hangar bay.
“Double time!” Nichols ordered. The squad started to jog, heading the forced roundabout way to the hangar.
“Rescue vessel, this is Dagger squad. Make sure all persons are armed with automatic weapons. Hostiles are unarmored organics of unknown classification. Look for moving shadows,” Nichols said.
“This is Cerberus rescue vessel, Roger that, Dagger squad. What direction are you coming from?”
“We will be coming from the fore, ETA fifteen.”
“Okay, we’ll roll out the welcome mat. Rescue team, out.”
“Thank you, Rescue. Dagger, out.”
Nichols worked the action on his rifle once, chambering a round, and then raised the gun to his shoulder continued onward. The squad had worked their way to the outer compartments, where they could move faster through the ship. The trade-off, however, was that they had to be extremely careful about where they placed their explosives, and sometimes they could even breach a door due to the closeness of the outer hull.
They had not crossed but a few compartments before the radio came to life again.
“Dagger team, hurry it up! We’ve encountered heavy resistance and won’t be able to hold for much longer! There’s simply too many. If you’re not here in five, we’ll have to pull out.”
“Roger that, Rescue. We’ll see what we can do,” Nichols said over the comm. Then he told his squad, “You heard him! They’re the last ride out of here. We have to get on that transport. Cole, there any faster route?”
“Yes, sir. But we’ll need to blast our way through a wall or two.”
“Do it. And quickly.”
“Aye aye, Sarge.”
Cole primed a few explosive charges as he ran. He directed them down a different corridor, where they came to a door leading back the way they came, and a wall. Cole set the charges on the wall in an oval pattern, stepped back, and lit them. They blew a clean hole through the thin wall, which the squad stepped through, then continued their journey.
The radio crackled to life again as they ran, “We’re being overrun! We have to pull out! Dagger, you are on your own if you don’t get out here before the engines finish cycling up! You’ve got about two minutes.”
“Yes, sir. We are on our way,” Nichols replied.
As Dagger traversed a maintenance walkway, they were attacked. Shadows came out from both above and below them. Nichols opened fire aiming downward, and Cole shot everything in front of him. Doyle let loose on the shadows above them, and they dropped, one at a time.
These things just come out of the woodwork! Nichols thought to himself, using what was by now a cliché. And they just don’t die! How many goddamn bullets do I have to put in each of their heads? Jesus! He just took five rounds to the skull!
The shadows were dropping onto the walkway now and loping toward the squad. Nichols could see how the rescue team was being overrun if they were being hit in these numbers. They didn’t even have the time to see these things before they were upon them. At least on the walkway Nichols had plenty of time to see them coming.
“Dagger, whatever you did, keep doing it. They just stopped assaulting our position,” Rescue commented on the comms.
“That’s because they’re attacking us! They’re coming at us from everywhere!” Nichols replied.
“Keep moving, then!”
Nichols didn’t bother replying. His team had just left the catwalk, and sealed the door behind them. Immediately, however, two large dents in the door appeared as the things chasing them slammed into it. Another second passed and another dent appeared.
Cole, Doyle, and Nichols quickly resumed their trek.
“Two more doors and we’re at the hangar!” Cole commented. No one replied. They just kept running.
They passed through the two doors, and entered the hangar. Nichols looked out across the landing pad.
It was empty.