Posts tagged base
Posts tagged base
“Get back to the base, kid!”
The officer yelled at me as I stared in shock. I couldn’t even remember his name. Ghachev or Gorchev or something else vaguely Russian. I could see the veins standing out in his neck as he yelled.
It was with good reason too. The Northern Tube had collapsed, or been destroyed, or something, no one knew what. What we did know was that the CO had ordered an immediate retreat to the Central Cylinder to await orders. More seasoned and smaller Spec Ops teams were being dispatched to the North to assess the damage.
I was only in my second year in the CCDS. Which was why Corporal Gho-something was now towering over me, shaking my shoulders with his massive hands.
“Snap out of it, kid! We don’t have time for this. Get your ass back to the base!”
This time, it registered. I spun out of his grasp and sprinted away down the corridor without a glance back. The drone of the CCDS alarms kept pace with my feet as I tried to figure out the route back to the main base. I noticed a distant rumble and felt a tremor that almost tripped me.
I slowed to a jog as I neared an intersection of five corridors. They weren’t major Tubes, but they were still an impressive 30 feet in diameter. All of the passageways in the Cylinder were round. Flat paths ran on either side, and the center was used for the transports.
I didn’t recognize any of the corridors. I looked around with rising panic and realized everyone else was already back to base or at least way ahead of me.
“Dammit,” I muttered, “Sadie, are you there?”
A voice, heavy with static, echoed out from my wristband.
schhhkkk…Yes…It seems there isshckckshcks…..a large interference field dampening my signal…shckkckhck
“Do you think you can project the fastest path back to the CC for me?” It was my best bet. “Use the maintenance and delivery shafts too.”
shckkk…You know thaschkkkkk not advisable shckkckc…
“Yeah, yeah, I know the rules. This is obviously an exception. Just do it.”
I had to appreciate the AI that let Sadie override protocol for this one. A glowing green beam about a foot wide appeared at chest height and shot off into one of the corridors. I broke into a run again. The beam curved with the passage, and led me through three more intersections. After the third, I was in a much smaller passage than the main artery I had started in.
The Central Cylinder Defense System was an impossible maze of these tubes, ranging from the huge Tubes at each cardinal direction to the vein-like network of maintenance hatches, sewers, and package tubes. Where most people saw utilitarian pipes, I saw shortcuts.
Suddenly my green guide swerved directly into the wall. I slowed and found the control panel for access to a delivery chute.
“Overide code, please?”
ckckshchks…one seven…ckschksch…three eight…ckhgkchskch
I keyed the numbers and a previously invisible hatch slid open. I crouched to get in. The chute was dark; no one bothered to light a tube that only carried packages.
“Well…I hope no one’s delivering today…”
And I dove into the darkness.
(To Be Continued?)