You decide answers are more important than an exit and head to the mainframe. Your tracker leads. The team’s sniper goes next and you can hear your tech specialist grumbling behind you as he brings up the rear.
The dark corridor spirals away. According to the map there are no straight passages. Everything in the complex centers around an enormous round room. At least you think it’s a room. It’s drawn like one, only it has no doors.
Every few feet, other hallways branch off and curve into darkness. As your team moves through the passage, you strain your ears for other noises, but hear nothing. The sounds of your own movement seem amplified. As you continue toward the center of the complex, you get an itchy feeling like you’re being watched.
You step into the hallway that circles the center room. It’s even bigger than the map suggests. The unknown symbol from the first hatch is carved into the concrete wall every ten feet. According to the black box on your belt, the symbols are active.
You snap your fingers, calling for a stop. You flip through a small, dog-eared notebook from your bag and compare the symbol to a few that you had jotted down. It doesn’t even have the same base construction as the ones you’ve studied. It may not even pertain to demons. You copy the symbol and direct your team to continue down the hall.
You start to see more control rooms like the one from which your team leader disappeared. They’re small and sparse and the computers are all off. A few minutes later, you reach the mainframe.
The room itself is quite large. Two black towers stand in the center. The rest of the room is filled with electronic medical equipment. There’s two of everything and it’s all turned on, blipping and flashing.
Your tech approaches the mainframe and sets his duffel bag on the floor. He pries off the front panels, slides out the terminal, and starts typing. The keys sound like little bones clacking together. He grabs some gear from his bag.
While the tech works, your team surveys the room. You circle slowly, wondering what the equipment is monitoring. In the last half hour you’ve seen no evidence of survivors, yet you stand before two EKG units that blip with activity.
“Research,” the tech says, pulling everyone’s attention.
Your team gathers around the terminal.
“This place is a research facility. There’s not much here except ancient religious texts about the apocalypse.”
Your tracker snorts.
“Why read? All they have to do is look outside.”
The tech nods his agreement.
“Most of it’s about the Seven Seals and the Riders of the Apocalypse.”
He types another command and more text scrolls up the screen.
“There’s another level below us. There are dormitories are to the north and labs to the south. The two wings aren’t connected, but we can get to them by stairs at either end.”
He packs up his gear while you discuss which end to search first. You turn toward the door and freeze. You realize all of the tabs on your belt are pointing at the door.
An enormous sword leans against the wall to the right of the door. You’re sure it wasn’t there when you entered the room — you would have noticed. It stands as high as your chest. Its black blade gleams in the light. A slender fragment is missing from the front of the blade.
The tech steps toward the sword, eyes wide. You’re worried he may try to touch it, but he stops three feet away.
“Where did this —”
Before he can finish, the lights cut out and all the machines go dead, encasing you in black. You hear a scuffle. A hand clamps down on your arm. The tracker shouts.
Before you can pull yourself free, the lights return and the machines whir to life, each casting their glow about the room. The sniper is holding you and the tracker by the arms, as if he’s afraid one of you might disappear. The tech’s bag is on the floor. The tech is gone. So is the sword.
The sniper releases you and reaches for his pistol. He flicks off the safety and looks to you for direction.
What do you do?
A: Head north to the dormitories
B: Head south to the laboratories
Vote in the comments or on Twitter at #site27. Voting ends Tuesday night. The highest vote will be the next step in the story, posted on Fridays.
Image courtesy of Brenda Starr.
UPDATE: Voting is now closed. This Friday, you will head to the labs. Thanks to everyone who participated!