“We get in there, use the system to locate our target and then invent some excuse to go find him.” said Laura.
“And the survivors?” asked Zola.
“What about them?” puzzled Laura.
“Well. We can’t just leave them to be killed.” explained Zola.
Rackham laughed, but neither Franz nor Zola seemed happy. Laura sighed.
“Look. I suppose we can send an actual Mayday once we’re clear.” she relented. Zola nodded.
The Beacon Control was a small building several hundred metres away from the main complex. Dave had explained that all of the base technical and communications control was concentrated here: a beacon was located above the building, and underground it was linked to the prison complex by passages. The surface facility was a square building about twenty metres across. All seemed quiet as they approached the airlock and cycled the controls.
As they opened the airlock emergency lighting flickered. From the schematics Dave had passed on they knew that the upper level contained only an office and a few domestic arrangements. They would need to descend some stairs to a sub level to access the main systems; mainframe, servers, power controls.
“The main systems are in the control room ahead” said Franz, as they descended the stairs. “And the servers and computer systems are in a room round about to our left. Left and left again at the junction up ahead.”
They stared around as they entered the central control room.
“It looks like a bunch of hyped up teenagers have been trashing the place” said Vic. There was disorder and superficial damage everywhere. Franz moved over to the power modules.
“I think I see the problem” he said. “The vandalism has damaged some of the relays. I just need to replace them and then we need to go to the server room and reboot, after I’ve powered up again from here.”
“How long?” asked Laura.
“Not long, " said Franz. “Here….” He stopped as Laura exclaimed, and there was a burst of automatic fire from her smg. leaving them to it he immersed himself in his task.
At the junction behind them appeared two prisoners, identifiable by their coveralls. However, there was something not normal about them. Their faces were twisted and contorted in anger, and the pair yelled incoherently as they bounced towards Laura down the corridor in the micro G, seemingly oblivious to their own hurts as they bumped walls and equipment.
Laura put two bursts into one of them, and still he came on, only finally dropping when also hit by Vic and Zola. The other scrambled helplessly, losing control of his movements as he flailed down the corridor. More sustained firepower finally put him out of his misery.
“They” , said Zola, “Took a lot of putting down”. Rackham squinted down at them.
“Drugs maybe?” he said. “Or something that produces a similar effect.”
“They were like animals” said Vic. Laura said nothing, but quietly loaded her smg. Although she would never admit it, their whole posture had shaken her.
“How’s it going?” Zola asked.
“Few more minutes,” said Franz. Zola nodded, and then glided down to the junction to keep tabs on the stairwell to the north: it was here that their attackers had approached from.
She called a warning as another of the Crazies (as Vic had dubbed them) appeared. Confident of her own ability to evade the Crazie she fired with her Anvil; with a gutteral snarl it glided towards her, ignoring the others in the corridor at right angles to the junction.
Vic and Rackham headed south east from the Control Room to meet with Zola: Laura stayed put, ostensibly to cover the corridor. In reality her mind was in a turmoil. This wasn’t like her, but no one had noticed anyway.
Perhaps due to overconfidence the Crazie managed to close with Zola. As she pulled away it dealt her a heavy buffet: it was like being punched by a Gorilla. Rackham spun out of control, as Vic angled for a shot. Down he went.
“Are you ok back there?” asked Vic. “Laura? Laura?!”