The Next Morning
"Morning Mac." Jackson said. He was standing outside with McNabb and DJ.
"You look wasted." Jackson added.
"Ya think?" Mac replied, running a hand through his hair. "I got carried away last night. Drank a beer too many-"
"Before or after she dropped you?" Jackson asked.
McNabb elbowed Jackson.
Mac shook his head. "We were fine. I brought her back, then returned to the bar, grabbed a few more beers. I found out my Sarge died last night."
"OReilly? Damn, man. I'm sorry."
McNabb and DJ also offered their condolences.
McNabbs radio buzzed. It was Dr. McGregor.
"System all ready. Send in a set up team."
The shuttle landed, and the ramp went down with a hiss. The base builders exited the shuttle, only to be greeted by Nexus Security.
The leader stepped forward. "Thank you for coming. I'm Nathan Prezowski, Chief of Security. Uh... is this all you've got?"
"Nah, we're just the set up team. Where do we go?"
"Follow me," Prezowski said, leading them through the building. "We've got a nice platform over in the Filtering Section."
One of the men turned to the other. "I bet this guy is a great salesman. First he has a nice platform, then he talks us into buying it!"
The others snickered.
"Cut it out back there," the commander warned.
Prezowski motioned to the open area through the doorway. "This is our filtering tank here, and you can set your base up at the end. Any questions?"
They all shook their heads and got to work.
Turner and his clones came through first, then McNabb. "C-Kit worked flawlessly," the setup team leader said.
McNabb nodded. "Excellent. Where's the Security Chief?"
"Hello sir," said a voice behind him. McNabb spun around to see the Chief himself. "Nathan Prezowski." he said, extending his hand.
McNabb shook it. "John McNabb. This here is Mac Turner, my best soldier. And coming through the node now...Jessica Salek, Video Tech. She'll need access to your camera system."
Turner nodded at Prezowski and walked over to Jess. "What are you doing here?" he hissed.
"Someone has to watch the cameras."
"It's too dangerous here for you."
"I could say the same for you, Mac."
"I'm a trained soldier!"
"And I can take care of myself. I'll be fine."
"Oh hush. I know a beaten man when I see one."
"This isn't over."
"What're you gonna do," she said, raising an eyebrow, "punish me?"
Turner stared. "You're not flirting with me here, of all places?"
"Why not?" she replied, walking away.
Turner sighed, ran his hands through his hair, and went over to McNabb, who shook his head.
"Don't bother, Mac. Women will always have the last word."
"Doesn't mean I have to like it..."
"Shape up, pal. We've got aliens to kill."
The security chief looked at Mac strangely.
"What are you doing here?"
Mac raised an eyebrow. "I'm a soldier?"
Nathan shook his head. "You were here yesterday. I hired you and your soldiers to clean up at Karith Corporation headquarters."
McNabb frowned. "And they are...?"
"Our owners. Just a few miles away. You were supposed to report in today, and then head over there."
Mac shook his head. "It wasn't me... unless...."
"Unless it was Clone #13."
Nathan shook his head. "What? Clones? Don't play games with me."
McNabb grinned. "Oh, we're not. Activate the nodes!"
The telenodes began to hum, and one by one the clone soldiers appeared. They each had a rifle and a blaster, standard military issue.
"What in hell?" Nathan said, dumbfounded.
"Meet the Turner clones." McNabb said.
Nathan stared as they all assumed position. "You really must be kidding... how is this possible?"
McNabb shrugged. "Ask our lead scientist."
A man ran up to Nathan. "Sir, we've got a ship coming in!"
Nathan shrugged. "Let's go meet the new arrival."
The ramp lowered with a hiss, revealing none other than 13.
He walked down, heading straight to the security chief.
"We're ready. I'll receive payment as soon as we're finished."
Nathan nodded. "Very well."
Turner approached the security chief as 13 walked back to the ship. "What the hell? He's a Merc?"
Nathan shrugged. "I guess."
McNabb frowned. "He escaped a while back. I'd take him back in..."
Nathan shook his head. "He's got a bunch of men in armor in that ship. One wrong move and he'd blow us away."
"So he DID get his own clone machine!"
Nathan raised an eyebrow. "Say what?"
"Our cloning machine was sabotaged a short while back. 13 did it. Why, we didn't know. Now we do."
"So... he wanted to make clones of himself?"
McNabb grinned. "Strange doesn't begin to describe it. If he's going there to wipe out any aliens present, I say let him do it. We could use the help. Now let's get back to base."
"Hey guys," Jess said. "Look at this."
They moved over to the computer system. On one of the screens was a dretch.
"What's it doing?"
Jess smiled. "I had a soldier plant a small piece of meat there with a tracking device inside it. The dretch smelled it, found it and ate it. Now we can see where it goes. Easy way to find the base."
Mac nodded. "Good job. Why don't I think of these things?"
"Because I think of them first?"
"Ok, men. We're going to move out," McNabb said. "Two groups of eight. One takes the direct route, the other takes the back way. We're going to follow this tracker. Jess, update us via the comm."
"Will do." She placed her hand on Turners arm. "Be careful, Mac."
"I always am," he replied with a smile.
"This place seems rather big." 24 said.
"It's a fuel depot. You realize a lot of ships have to come through here and fill up?" 07 said.
"Well that means a lot of fuel, which means a big facility."
"I'm not a second grader, you know."
"Cut the chatter," Turner said. "They'll hear us."
The group moved down the hall, eyes open and searching. "24, check your map."
"Dretch is in a basement room. Down the stairs in the next room, down the hallway straight ahead."
"Alright. McNabb, you got that?""Got it. We're on the other side, waiting."
McNabb look at the door in the distance. "Ok, two of you move along those pipes there. Another guy on the other side. The rest of you, after me. Move out!"
They moved up to the door.
"27, open that."
The clone entered a code on the panel and the door slid up. He suddenly began screaming.
"What the fuck is wrong with him?!"
The clone turned around, and the others moved back. His skin was bubbling and sliding off his body. McNabb could see muscles and bone.
They all fired at once, putting the clone out of his misery. They cautiously moved up to the doorway, spotting a round purple structure on the wall. They killed it and walked inside. The room was dim, due to the lack of any bright lights. The soldiers walked over to the opposite door. Large purple growths were covering it, as if to keep something out. 15 grabbed his knife and started cutting it down.
"There's not much here." 19 said.
McNabb nodded. "Look around the room for eggs or something. They're here somewhere..."
The door slid open, and Turner and his men came through. "What is going on? I heard screaming!"
McNabb motioned to the sizzling remains of 27. The acid had eaten away most of his flesh.
Turner made a face and looked away. "Guys!"
Jess said over the comm.
"What is it?""13 is requesting help at Karith Corp. He says he and his men are overwhelmed. There are more aliens there than there were at Niveus, from the sounds of it."
"Alright. Men, is the room clear?"
"We didn't find anything, sir."
"Good. Let's go."
The dretch watched them as they moved away. When most of them had trickled out the door, it attacked.
Turner spun around when one of the men started screaming. He rushed forward, grabbing the dretch around the middle and throwing it at a wall. It hit with a splat
, it's guts smeared on the surface as it slid downwards.
"Nasty bugger. It was watching us," he said. "You ok?"
The clone nodded. "Just a bite, nothing big. I thought I was done for!"
Turner smiled. "Not with me around. Let's get to Karith, men!"
"HOORAH!" they shouted, marching back to the base.
-------------The end of Chapter 6Author Note:
This took longer than I would have liked, due to some real life stuff. In order to get it out a bit faster, this chapter is shorter than the others by a little bit. Don't worry, the next one should make up for it