Lights and Shadows: Update #5

It’s Update Time again and this one starts off Chapter 10, which promises to be a real humdinger. Enjoy.

Two things bothered Moreau as he followed Finch off the elevator into the Outpost Research Laboratory. The first was the generally pristine look of the space, totally unlike the devastation that had been wrought upon the upper levels. The second was the tremor that shook the floor under them. Planet Tarson was well-known for Sandstorm Season, but nowhere in recent history was there any record of tectonic stability. The planet simply wasn’t known for quakes. Thankfully, the tremor lasted but a few seconds and did little more than shake the equipment dollies.

“I don’t like this.” He remarked as he made a sweep of the lab, double-checking to make sure the ever-present holographic projectors were off and nothing was lurking around the compartment’s many corners. “The rest of the outpost is ripped to shreds and this place looks like the staff simply went to Lunch and never came back.”

Finch nodded as she used her tablet scanner to inspect the room. “I agree. The room is heavily shielded from EM signals and appears to have been recently fitted with extra security precautions designed to isolate it from the rest of the outpost. Whatever they were doing down here, they seemed to be afraid of it getting beyond here.”

Moreau walked over and studied a large examination table in the room’s center. Upon a closer inspection, he noticed miniature devices fitted to the table top in a human body pattern. “Fat lot of good it did them.” He scratched the stubble on his chin before reaching over to a workbench to retrieve a small magnifying glass that seemed out of place among the high-tech equipment. He held the glass over the table’s projectors. “These look like smaller versions of the projectors we’ve seen topside.” He gestured her over. “What do you make of this?”

She took the magnifying glass from him and bent over the table. She muttered to herself for several seconds before looking back at him. “They certainly resemble the ones above, but these are much more sophisticated and appear to be more specialized.” She slipped on a pair of insulated gloves and used the glass’s metal handle to pry one of the devices from the examining table. “Only one way to find out.”

“Get on that while I’ll check the rest of this place out.” He pulled out the Colt and popped the cylinder. His supply of smart bullets were seriously depleted after the last run in with that hologram and he dreaded the prospect of using his backup laser. I knew I should have packed more speed loaders, he thought as he snapped the cylinder back into position. Damn you and your ‘promotions’, Arnax. He held his pistol at his side and continued on.

The room curved and passed through several airlock-type doors before it opened up into a central location. The overhead lighting flickered as Moreau walked down rows of tall capsule shaped containers, their viewing windows fogged by condensation. The containers were large enough to hold a person, but closer examination revealed many of them fitted with internal shelves filled with small specimen boxes. The boxes themselves were locked and though his curiosity was piqued, the biohazard symbols were enough to discourage him from further inquiry. He explored further, the soles of his shoes making a light clicking sound on the tiled floor. He stopped at an airlock door fitted to the outer bulkhead away from the regular traffic flow.

“Now, what do we have here?” He muttered, reaching for the door controls. Before he made contact, he heard Finch’s voice in his earpiece. “Go ahead.”

“I’ve found something. Get back here.”

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