The leaders set off slowly into the base, making their way carefully deeper into it’s heart, searching in every room for any signs of the chemical. Any vials, canisters, bottles, whatever it might be stored it.
After quite some time searching without any success, Flare pointed something out that had been playing on everybody’s minds,
“Where are the F.I.S.? I haven’t seen any yet.”
“Me neither.” Hess agreed.
“Well either we’ve had a bit of luck and they’ve left…” Blast started as he poked his head around another door, “Or we’re walking into a trap.”
The door they’d just arrived at was the ground floor of a stairwell that ascended up four floors into a tower, with a single door on each level.
“Come on.” Blast encouraged dully and they stared the journey upwards.
The first floor appeared to be a laboratory of sorts, which they searched thoroughly before concluding that the only thing of any use to them was a scrap of paper with some handwritten notes scribbled on.
They moved back onto the stairs and moved upwards to the next floor, entering the door cautiously.
After searching that floor, again in vain, they moved on up to the third floor and slowly opened the door.
They’d entered a room full of control panels and levers and switches. Dials and monitors were everywhere and the wall directly opposite the entrance was made mostly from glass, giving them a clear view into the room beyond. The control boards lined all four walls, the glass on the wall opposite the door starting just above the height of the panels and there was an island in the center of the room. That too was covered in monitors and dials.
The leaders walked in and Blast instantly made his way over to the window and looked out.
The room he was looking into was clearly the main chemical processing plant. The room was factory-sized and circular vats full of various colored liquids that stood twice the height of any man, stood in four rows up the whole length of the room. A metal catwalk that branched off in several places, hung the length of the room, stretching right over all of the vats, presumably for easy access. At the end of each walkway, a flight of stairs led down to the round.
The room in which the U.R.S. currently stood was on the third floor and the chemical plant took up both the first, second and third floors. The catwalk was level with the second floor down below them and Blast stood looking out, wondering what the best plan of action was.
“Well, I think we’ve found it.” He joked as the other leaders and the two scouts joined him in looking out of the viewing wall, the scouts to his left and leaders to his right.
They stood for a minute more looking out into the factory, taking in the sheer size of the plant before deciding what to do.
As they stood looking, Lovelock, who was between Phoenix and Blast, noticed something in the corner of his eye.
Phoenix suddenly sprang at the head of the U.R.S..
“Blast!” Lovelock had just enough time to shout as he threw his arms out and moved into the way.
The U.R.S. leaders all turned to see what was going on, just in time to see the knife in Phoenix’s hand slice through Lovelock’s neck padding.
Blast instantly drew his pistols as the scout crumpled into a heap on the floor, his throat slit, but Phoenix knew his chance was gone and instead of facing the leaders, he dived straight through the window.
The glass shattered and he tumbled down onto the catwalk below.
Blast fired several shots at him but Phoenix was already up and running along the catwalk towards the far end.
“Bastard!” Flare cursed as he dropped to his knees and checked Lovelock’s body.
“What the hell was that all about?” Padfoot wondered angrily.
Blast stood with his teeth clenched tight, glaring after the betraying scout who had just scampered down the far flight of stairs.
He shook his head and rolled Lovelock’s lifeless body onto it’s back.
“I’m sorry.” Blast quietly told the corpse. “And thank you. You saved my life.”
Flare stood up and joined the other leaders who were looking out of the window, keeping watch for any signs of life.
Blast nodded with a deep breath to the fallen scout and then turned his attention back to the factory.
“Let’s get this done.”
The U.R.S. leaders made their way back down the stairs after noting the position of the main door into the plant and made their way around to where it should have been located.
They entered a room in which they’d already searched and looked around.
“Check the walls.” Padfoot commanded and everybody set about searching for a hidden door.
After a minute or two of door hunting, Slash discovered a hidden lever inside a bookcase that he pulled and the case swung outwards revealing the metal door hidden behind.
“There we go.” Blast said to himself as the door was revealed to them.
Nightblaze spent a minute overriding the pass-code on the door and when it was done, the seal around it hissed as the pressure changed.
Blast pulled on the handle and the door swung open revealing the vast chemical plant beyond.
As soon as they stepped inside, they all felt the change in temperature. Suddenly the air had become a lot hotter as they stood between two of the giant vats.
“Whatever you do, do NOT remove your helmets.” Blast insisted as they looked around. “If this stuff is airborne then we have no idea what could happen and unless you’re in any immediate danger, do NOT fire your weapon either. Any sparks or wry lasers could blow this place sky high.”
“And keep your eyes peeled. The F.I.S. could be anywhere.” Nightblaze added quietly, careful so as that his voice wouldn’t carry too far.
The leaders slowly made their way deeper into the heart of the plant, checking down every path, between every vat for any signs of the F.I.S.
“Blast.” Falcon called several minutes later, just as they reached the central isle with the catwalk directly above them.
It wasn’t an urgent call, it wasn’t even loud, but it still chilled R.K.. Before he even turned to look at what his companion wanted him for, he knew it would be something horrible. There was just that sound in the young commander’s voice, a haunted, terrified sound that made him certain he wouldn’t like what he was about to see. But he still turned, slowly though, he had to and looked at what Falcon had found.
“Oh my….” Padfoot started quietly but didn’t finish the sentence. The other leaders all made similar remarks or took quiet gasps as they all turned to see what had been discovered. Blast made his way to the front of the group.
Slumped on the floor, leaning up against the nearest vat was an armored body. The Clone’s armour bore no damage whatsoever, in fact if it weren’t for the layers of dust and cobwebs covering it, it might have only come out of the factory yesterday. However the body was helmet-less and that was the cause of everyone’s horror.
The head that sat atop the body was horribly disfigured. Shrunken and skeletal-like it was a stomach churning sight. There were no eyes, just shrunken pits where the sockets had once been. Where flesh had once filled the man’s face, skin was now stretched tight over the bones and in a couple of places, the bones had broken through, the white showing through the paper-thick skin, which was itself, green and decomposing. The lower jaw hung open so that they could see inside it was empty; no teeth, no tongue, just rotting flesh.
“So that what this stuff does.” Hess mumbled.
“It’s ghastly.” Flare whispered.
Blast remained quiet as he crouched down on his haunches in front of the dead man. He stared into what had once been the eye sockets, hatred burning through his veins. Hatred for Iadsgb and the F.I.S.. How could a man who had once been his closest friend, allowed his scientists to create such a devastating chemical? A chemical that in mere seconds by the looks of it, sucked the life out of someone, eating away through their flesh and body tissue, reducing them to no more than a shriveled up, decomposing heap.
BUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT? FIND OUT IN PART 11! COMING FRIDAY 14TH JUNE!
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