The technician was halfway up the ramp, face down, and when they rolled him over they recoiled at the look on his face. He had died in terror, from the looks of it, his eyes wide and his mouth open- as if he had been screaming. Anna immediately shone her light down the rampway, but all they could see was shadows. Eric looked the technician over, found his ID card.
"Hamilton," he grunted. "Any idea which one this is?"
"No," she glanced over quickly. "I didn't catch their names."
This was wonderful. No other identifying information. He looked around, rubbing his forehead. This was not what they had wanted to find. What was going on? Can we ever catch a break?
"Let's not tackle that now," he said, nodding towards the depths. "Let's get up and see what we can see, see if the team is close, and go from there." She nodded and they retraced their steps back to ground level, Anna walking backwards with her rifle charged. Once they reached base level she knelt and left a small proximity alarm at the ramp and they hurried up the steps leading to the upper level.
"Well we know one of those guys isn't coming back," she muttered. "Think the other one is down below?"
"No idea. Doesn't bode well for him being alive though, does it?"
She just grimaced. They reached the second level and after a cursory look around kept on going. Eric wanted to get a view from the high observation deck that often surmounted these towers. When they reached the third level Anna did a sweep while Eric went right to the weird, beveled windows that looked out upon the rest of the complex. He could see for quite a ways, and there was no sign of movement.
"Clear," he heard. He turned back to explore with Anna, a little more relaxed. This was the level he always thought of as the library or leisure area- if the Precursors indulged in leisure. There was just a more comfortable vibe to it, and the machines that were spaced at intervals looked almost like data interface points. It didn't have the same clinical feel that the lower levels did. And who wouldn't love the view?
He sat down with a sigh on one of the extrusions that apparently served as chairs for the long- lost race. They were made of a strange metallic foam that was entirely unknown to humanity, but they were comfortable enough. He fished a food bar out of his pack and threw one to Anna as well, who took up a position by the windows. He could tell she was freaked out a little, over that body. He was too. Knowing they were probably dead and finding one were not the same- especially when the one they found looked like he'd had the shit scared out of him.
He thought about their options. They had a strike team nearby, presumably hostile. They'd read the same log entry, know the technicians were missing and they had to know that he and Anna were here. So where would they go next? The answer was pretty obvious.
But why were they here? There could be any number of reasons, but the more he thought about it, the less likely it seemed that they would be here for any other reason than him. Although Anna was a target now too, he supposed. The way things were now- maybe they should just petition Control and try to sort things out at home. It was clearly out of hand.
He might have dozed, exhausted, when Anna roused him.
Shit. He got up and went over to see.
"Looks like they found us."
He nodded, counting.
"I see ten," he said. She nodded. "Same." They were moving with military precision, standard pattern, just coming out of the water now.
"They're going to come here first," she pointed out.
"They'll establish a perimeter first, then they'll come here," he replied. "We need to go."
Scrambling away from the balcony he took a last look around wistfully- he could have spent hours, days, here but that wasn't going to happen. Not now. They sailed down the steps, headed for the entrance. As it sphinctered open they could already see troopers fanning out across the complex. They'd have to be quick.
"Eric, are you in there? I just want to talk."
He almost laughed. How reassuring.
"Eric, just you and I. No need for violence. Is Anna with you?"
Eric and Anna exchanged a glance, incredulous.