Fort Underworld Pt 3
Posted By: K. Beitzel and J.B.<email@example.com>
Date: 14 June 2010, 9:28 am
As requested, Alexis met with Decker at the lower level entrance, her rucksack full of whatever explosives she could put together, and a few extra clips of AR ammunition. She wasn't yet sure if she liked where Decker was going with his plan, but anything had to be better than sitting on their asses all day waiting for a rescue party that would never come.
She saluted and dumped her pack against the wall, hands on her hips, "This could cause a cave-in you know.. assuming I have enough explosives to rattle this cage."
"Cave-in sounds fun. Always liked digging." Decker cracked a slight grin, which was met with nothing more than a cold stare from Alexis and her marines. "No? Alright, let's just blow this door. Get down that hall, set a shaped charge on the 'hinge' and let's crack this thing."
As Alexis went to work setting up the breaching charges, one of Richardson's marines piped up. "Uh, sir? What exactly are we looking for in here anyway? Who knows what kind of crazy things the Covvies might have waiting in there for us? Shouldn't we be holding down the fort and waiting for Keyes before we make a move?"
Decker stiffened a bit. He wasn't used to having his commands questioned until right before his troops thought they were going to die. This could be a bad omen, he thought. "I don't know what we're looking for, Pvt. Thompson," he said. "All I know is that I hope it's edible. We've held our position long enough, and it's pretty clear that any survivors from the Autumn aren't coming - they're either dead or out of radio contact. Hopefully it's the latter. Nonetheless, stay frosty. God knows what we're going to find down here, but we have enough firepower to kill anything that comes our way."
The marine nodded. "I hope you're right, sir."
From down the hall, there was a slight beep as Alexis finished arming the charges. "Everybody get clear!" she shouted as she ran towards them. "Get around the corners, away from the blast!" As she rounded the corner, Alexis charged her MA5B's bolt, prompting Decker and the others to do the same.
"FIRE IN THE HOLE!"
The hallway shook slightly as the door was blown apart. The change in pressure sucked the dust and glass shards into the next section down, like poking a hole in a sarcophagus.
As the dust settled, Alexis came forward to inspect the room, "Clear.." she called back, a little disappointed, "Just a bunch of crazy symbols on the walls."
She pointed up at a red marking that glowed eerily from the other end of the room, next to another door. She checked the wall either side of the entrance, the markings were different, and glowed yellow. There were also two more doors, one left and one right, neither of the doors had markings, but their lights were red, indicating that they were locked.
It was another dead end, and she didn't have enough explosives to just try another door at random. If they blew another open, it would have to lead to something worthwhile.
Alexis signalled for the others to come in, "This would be great if we were looking to add crew quarters down here.." she muttered, slacking her AR against her shoulder, ".. we might need some military grade air freshener though, it smells like something's died."
"Got your problem right here, Rodriguez." A marine was inspecting one of the near corners, "Moss, probably from the fog or something. Slippery stuff."
"There's no way moss could smell this bad.. God, that's awful.." she covered her mouth and nose to try and block the stench of the weeping cracks in the wall, "Sarge, I have one good bang left in my pack, do you want to try going in further? 'Cause uh, there's nothing in here except this.. stuff.. and I'm sure as hell not gonna eat that."
"Damn." Decker kicked at the sludge on the floor, then shook his foot violently. "Well, I'm sure some boot polish will clean that right up. Guess we should get ba-"
"CONTACT!" Thompson stiffened and raised his rifle towards the ceiling. "Oh fuck, man, oh fuck..."
A number of strange creatures began dropping down into the room as the Marines all raised their weapons to a combat-ready position. Bulbous and green, the fungus-like animals resembled large squid, and Decker's squad couldn't help but stare as they began to swarm towards them. It was all the time the infection forms needed to pounce on their first victim in millennia. Thompson screamed as they jumped onto him and began punching their tentacles into his spinal cord.
Decker's rifle roared into the swarm as Thompson fell, still screaming. "PULL BACK, DAMN IT, PULL BACK!" From the corner of his eye, he saw Alexis grab PFC Hall by the scruff of his neck, just out of reach from the advancing horde. Decker tapped his headset as he reloaded, running back up through the hallways. "RICHARDSON, COME IN! HOSTILE LIFEFORMS ENGAGED ON FLOOR TWO, WE HAVE A MAN DOWN, REPEAT, WE HAVE A MAN DOWN, COPY, OVER?"
"Copy that Decker, what the hell did you do down there? We've got some kind of alien fungus swarming all over us now; we've taken heavy casualties and are pulling back to the holding cells! We made contact with Echo 412 and 351 for immediate evacuation and fire support, you'll have to meet us at the mountain sum-" Richardson's report was cut off by a blood-curdling wail.
Decker hissed a string of obscenities under his breath. "Rodriguez, use that last charge to blow the ceiling at the end of this hall! We're snagging those tier-threes and getting the hell out of here." As they crested the ramp towards the next level, Decker slammed a new magazine into his rifle. He could hear Rodriguez arming the charge already, but there was no way she'd be quick enough. He crouched and aimed towards the swarm as it skittered upwards after them. "Covering fire!"
Alexis was slapped repeatedly by flecks of slime as a chain reaction ran along the group of infection forms, popping them all one after the other. She worked as fast as she could, she wanted to be out of there before any more of the squidlets appeared. "There, that should do it."
"Rodgriguez! Heads up!"
She looked up in time to see what was left of Thompson before a fist slammed into her face, knocking her back into the wall. Dazed, she tried to scramble free, but Thompson had wrapped three long tentacles around her leg.
Alexis looked back, saw he was unarmed, and kicked his chest. There was a soft "POP" as the infection form inside the cavity was crushed. His body shuddered and then fell.
"Time to go!"
Alexis got to her feet, firing her sidearm at the infection swarm, but she couldn't possibly kill enough of them, they just kept coming. The swarm stopped long enough to consume Thompson's body a second time, re-animating him. He screamed and shook violently, it made Alexis sick, but there was no saving him, she had to get out, they all had to get out of this place.
She passed through the door connecting the two sections and held her ground with Decker and Hall just a bit beyond it.
BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. WHUMP. The three marines were thrown backward by the explosion, it packed a little more punch than Alexis anticipated. The chamber below shook and crumbled on top of the oncoming infection swarm, crushing everything in the hallway.
The three marines took this opportunity to run.
"Sir," Alexis panted, "by the sounds of it they're up top as well. You got a plan?"
Hyla heard some commotion above shortly after the rumble below. It didn't sit well with her.
"Hey. Hey, Kig-Yar.." She shook Riko trying to wake him, "Dama.. figures. Well, I'm not leaving you here."
The young elite pulled the Jackal into her arms, then inspected the door. It wasn't designed to be a cell, no locking mechanism whatsoever.
Hyla shook her head, feeling a bit stupid. She could have gotten away this whole time. She punched the green touch-light with a sigh, securing her hold on Riko, then peeked out of the door.
The human female and the Merciful Decker were sprinting up the ramp, ".. Dama.." Hyla muttered, expecting to be shot.
Decker pounded his way up the ramp, occasionally peeking back over his shoulder to make sure they had shaken the creatures - at least for now. Coming to the end of the hall, he peeked through the small peep-hole on the door leading into what was once Richardson's command center. Marines convulsed and screamed as infection forms took control of their nervous systems and began to mutate their bodies.
"Damn...what the hell are those things doing to them?" He looked around, trying to find an exit. "There, to the right of his desk. That door goes back towards the cell block. Any survivors are going to be in there, and the elevator out there is probably the only way out. Soon as I open this door, run like hell - don't think, just act. Ready?"
Alexis and PFC Hall nodded quickly. "Ok...go!"
The door slid open with a hiss as the three Marines darted out. Every combat form in the room twitched and turned towards them, wailing eerily as they gave chase. Decker turned and opened fire into the crowd as he ran. "Go go go!" More infection forms continued to leak into the room after them, their tentacles eager to find new flesh. As Decker reloaded, one grabbed hold of his pant leg. "God damn it get this thing off me!" he screamed as Hall turned and sprayed a quick burst into the creature, popping it violently as Decker resumed his sprint.
As they neared the door, Decker continued to hear gunfire. He turned only to find that Hall had lagged behind to slow down the horde, burning through MA5B ammunition at an astounding rate. "Hall, hurry up!" he shouted. Hall turned towards him, only to be swatted down by a combat form, allowing the festering wave of infection forms to swarm him. His screams echoed through the chamber, his last breath a plead for help. Decker turned and started back towards him as Alexis slipped into the exit door. "HALL!"
Alexis grabbed Decker by the sleeve and pulled him into the doorway. "Leave him, he's gone," she told him in an oddly cool tone. Decker knew she was right, and backed into the next hallway towards the cells as he fired a few bursts of his own into the writhing mass, hoping one of his bullets would spare Hall a fate worse than death.
"Shit man, I lost two more... I... shit, shit, shit." Decker cradled his helmeted head in his hands as he slumped against the wall. "Damn it Sarah, I promised..."
Alexis slapped him across the face, jarring him from his daze. "Sir, with all due respect, snap out of it. What happened to Hall and Thompson wasn't your fault, but if we fall apart now, there's not gonna be much hope for anyone up there." She thumbed toward the roof.
"Yeah... yeah, you're right." Decker slowly stood back up, using his empty rifle as a crutch. He gave a slight sigh as he planned their next move. "We need to regroup with the survivors. Richardson said they fell back to the holding rooms. When we get there, wake the big one up and arm it. Tell it that it can either carry the little one out, or we'll leave it for those things to carry it out. And let it know that if it so much as looks at me the wrong way, I won't hesitate to put a 12.7mm in the back of it's skull. I'll rally the troops and get us prepped for evac. Meet us back at the elevator in five."
Once Alexis split off down the left hallway, Decker clenched his fist around his rifle's hand grip, and slid a fresh mag into the magwell. Nobody else would die here today. Not if he could help it.