It was like a blast of sound and feeling hit her all at once. She was back to herself, and she heard pulse fire behind them and Andreas shouting and a horrible screeching that sounded like nothing she'd ever heard. Gillian was pulling her along and looking over her shoulder, and when Anna shook herself loose the trooper said "About fucking time. Move!" She shoved Anna ahead and then turned to support Riggs, firing her pulse rifle and screaming "Come on, you fuck! I'm right here!"
She rounded a corner and there was Andreas. He had one arm on Eric, holding him upright, and his datapad was in the other. He looked up as she appraoched.
"Right behind us. Helping Riggs. What the fuck is that thing?" Her chest was heaving, she was gulping air.
"I don't know, some motherfucking piece of shit- we can't see it. Riggs says it uses the shadows. He swears he's hit it multiple times- it won't fucking die . We have to get out of here right now. "
"How close are we?"
"Almost there. We make for the ramp, and I might have a surprise for it. We gotta get there. Take him and go."
"Don't worry, I'll be right behind you. Move!"
She moved, grabbing Eric - shit he was heavy- and took off down the corridor.
"Which way?" she called back.
"Left, then straight til the three-way- right. I think. Fuck it, go!"
Swearing under her breath, she went.
Andreas had never been prouder. He had two left- Gillian and Riggs- and they were holding the line, shoulder to shoulder, firing in short, controlled bursts to conserve energy. Once they lost the pulse rifles they were really screwed, and the troopers were well aware of it. Riggs was bleeding from a cut on his forehead and Gillian's hair had come loose in the flight, her shoulder- length tresses framing her face in that way he liked. Nice look, Gillian. It wasn't the first time he had thought it. She looked up as he approached and nodded. Riggs was checking his weapon charge so she turned and fired down the corridor, shouting something obscene. He smiled.
"Let's go. Time to bug out," he tapped Riggs on the shoulder, and didn't like what he saw when the man looked up. He had a sinking feeling in his gut, but Riggs shook his head.
"I'm alright, boss. For now. I think it's fucking with me though. Like it did those two," he nodded in the direction Eric and Anna had gone. "I'm holding it together."
"Alright, move. We're almost there. Gill, rear."
She nodded and off they went. Andreas kept an eye on Riggs as they hastened, checking his datapad periodically to make sure they were going the right way. Fucking Precursors. We should have just gated the fuck out. And it couldn't be a coincidence that someone had sent him of all people after Eric. Someone is playing a game. Well that's alright because when we get back I can play too.
She heard them coming before she saw them. Hard not to miss it- pulse fire, some unearthly screeching and Gillian's shouted suggestions about how best to fuck oneself. She was at a junction and could see the ramp- Eric was bent over but looked better- and then Andreas came barreling around the corner, with his two remaining troopers right behind him. "Go, go, go," he was screaming, and the screeching was so loud she thought her ears would bleed. It was absolutely terrifying, and not least because it was partly in her head that she heard it. She turned and ran, Eric beside her, and they pounded up the ramp, turning to wait for the other ones to catch up. Andreas was there first.
"You two, out. We're going to finish this."
"Andreas, no," she grabbed him. "We have to get out!"
"We are getting out. That thing isn't."
He turned back to Riggs. "Quickly. Charges."
He was rewarded with a rifle butt to the face. He stumbled and went down, and Anna recoiled. Riggs raised his weapon to strike again, and his eyes... they were black. Like two orbs of darkness. And she knew Riggs was gone.
Andreas was cursing and reaching for his sidearm, but he wouldn't make it. Riggs was about to bash his head in when a pulse cut through him and as it spun him around another, and then another, took him down. He fell to the ramp without a sound, but the screeching reached a crescendo and Anna knew it was there. Looking down the ramp she could see something, like a person but not, half shrouded in shadow. She somehow knew it wasn't there, not entirely, and if it had been they would have been dead long ago.
Andreas was back on his feet, pulling thermal charges out of Riggs' pack. Gillian was staring down the ramp, silent now, waiting. The thing below waited too, and then began to advance.
"Let's dance then," Gillian whispered, and Anna could hear the whine of her pulse rifle as she brought it up. Her bolts seemed to pass right through it- she was a crack shot- but they did have an effect, she could see that. It slowed when it was hit, wavered, and somehow she knew they were hurting it.
She looked and Andreas tossed a charge to her.
"On the wall. Hurry up!"
She complied, and as she did Eric picked up Riggs' rifle and began firing, giving Gillian a break. The two of them were slowing it down, and then it was time to go.
"Everyone out!" Andreas roared, and they scrambled for the exit. All except Gillian. She continued firing, and she was laughing now. Andreas turned and screamed at her. "Gill, let's go. That's an order!"
"Be right there! Get out!"
"Dammit, Gill!" He turned to Anna, shoved Eric towards the door. "Get him out!"
She looked at him, then went.