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Shouting and gunfire starting to fill the hallways shortly after I gave my order. I took a step toward the door and the violence outside. At that point, I felt a hand grab my shirt. I glanced back to see Keira holding it and giving me a worried look.

“Master…”

“Stay here, Kiera. Watch after Katarina.”

“Yes, Master.” She lowered her head and stepped back without a word.

I ordered the scout to head out in front of me and then I stepped out of the double doors. The gunfire became crisper, as well as the shouting. My eyes fell on a body lying on the ground. He was face down, wearing the same black outfit as the first guy the scout had killed him. He was holding Katarina’s smart gun on his back. Perhaps, he had taken it as a souvenir or was hoping to unlock and keep it eventually. I picked it up and plugged the connector into it. I saw that it had half a clip, twelve bullets, and it was still in Katarina’s name.

Veronica and the phase knife were both missing from my belt. Something about using her gun felt right. I cocked it and tested out the settings, switching to a single shot.

“Security… take me.” I ordered the scout.

“Affirmative.”

The machine spun and started hovering down the hallway as I followed behind it. My hand teetered on touching the Stealthco. I only have five minutes though, and I didn’t want to waste it for no reason. We came to a corner where two syndicate soldiers in black where battling against a Destroyer droid. It had taken some damage, and one of its gun arms wasn’t shooting.

“Kill!” I ordered the scout.

It started shooting down the hallway too. I crouched at the corner, but in the end, I didn’t get off a shot. With the added fire, the two men ended up retreating.

“Follow me,” I ordered the Destroyer, now having raised my guards to two.

The scout didn’t act much like a shield, but I could move behind the Destroyer while out of people’s way. I had the scout remain behind and watch our back, while I progressed slowly behind the Destroyer. I found a destroyed turret, a broken scout, and about ten bodies. Finally, I was up against the security room. Why did I come here? This was the location where I could get the layout of the hospital, as well as the people within it.

As I came up to the area outside the security door, I could see that the camera was damaged. I could hear voices coming from inside. One of them, I recognized, and the other, I didn’t.

“You fool! What are you doing?” a strange female voice came from the room.

“This isn’t me! I don’t understand. We have control of the security. See, I can still open and close doors. There is no reason the turrets and droids are aiming at us! What is that?” Punk was speaking, but then he suddenly stopped and I could hear a muffled voice over the radio for a moment. “Boss is ordering me to get out of here.”

“You’re not leaving me!”

“Your syndicate’s problem! If they want to send a team for you, that’s on them.”

“You bastard!”

“Arrrrhhhh, fine! Boss said the syndicate is loading supplies in the garage. If you can get down there, you can probably find safety.”

“Where are you going?”

“Look, I’m just following orders. Jacques wants me on the roof, we’re going to the roof. I can’t promise if you join me that there will be a place for you.”

“I’ll take my chances.”

“Stubborn woman! Then come-“

The doors burst open and the two people came face to face with us. The woman had black, curly hair, slanted eyes with large, brown pupils, and light brown skin. She was a short woman and looked to be of Filipino descent, in her early twenties. She wore a lab coat much like the man from earlier, and also had a device in her hand that looked like his.

“Stop!” I ordered as the scout and destroyer rose their guns to kill him. “Hands up where I can see them?”

Punk put his hands up, and I looked to see that he had Veronica on his hip. The other woman lifted her hands as well, but she still held the device as if she was unwilling to drop it.

“D-Daniel… how did you get out of the slave collar?” He asked.

“Who said you were the only hacker.” I decided to give a noncommittal lie.

“Well… I’m sorry about that… just following orders, you understand, right? It’s Jacques you want, right?”

I lowered my gun slightly. “He’s on the roof?”

“He… is!” Punk reached behind himself and swung down with a click.

The phase knife was in his hand. He was cutting down right on me. The act was fast I didn’t even think, but the Destroyer moved forward between us, knocking me back. The slice cut the remaining gun arm right off the destroyer as I stumbled to the ground. Punk turned and started running down the hallway. Where the destroyer was, the scout could get around it to chase.

“Watch her!” I barked an order at the scout. “Kill her if she moves.”

I scrambled to my feet and jumped around the destroyer, coming to the hallway Punk was sprinting down. Kneeling on one foot, I raised the gun and pointed. Without even thinking, I pulled the trigger. I then pulled it twice more. The first shot hit his shoulder, and the next two sent him collapsing to the ground.

With the gun raised, I moved toward him quickly, closing the distance. In that time, he had only managed to roll over. Seeing me approaching him, he started to back up, flailing like a small animal.

“W-wait! Wait… it’s not personal! It’s just business!”

I stopped a few feet from him. He was a young boy, only a few years older than Katarina. Perhaps, he was about the same age as the scientist woman I left behind. However, his words sounded just like Jacques. My eyes narrowed, I pointed the gun, and I fired a shot directly in his forehead. His head fell back and hit the ground, and he didn’t move again.

I stripped my phase knife, Veronica, and all of the ammo off of him, and then went back to the security room. I raised Veronica toward the scientist woman.

“Give me one reason not to kill you now.”

“The syndicate abandoned me here!” She cried. “I work for them since they fund my research, but there is no love lost here.”

“Cry me a river.”

“I’m useful!” She cried out as I cocked the gun. “I’m a doctor. I don’t have a Perco, but I can hack into terminals without one. I’m not as skilled as Punk here, but I can help you learn how to better use your Perco.”

“Goodbye.”

“I’m just a pharmacologist! I just make medicine! I shouldn’t even be here!” she closed her eyes and raised her hands defensively.

I froze just as my finger started to depress. “You’re a chemist.”

Her eyes opened, but her expression turned bitter. “I’m not some drug-pushing fiend! I make RegenX, Status Boosters, RadR, RadZ…”

“Can you make anticancer medication?” I demanded.

“C-Cure? Who couldn’t?” She blinked in surprise.

I let out a noise of frustration and lowered my gun. “Scout, watch her. If she tries to run or do anything funny, kill her.”

I shoved passed her and went to the security system. I immediately plugged myself into the system. I changed ownership of the system to myself and set the guidelines of who were enemies and who were friends.

I then downloaded the hospital map into my Perco, something I should have done before. I now had the path to the roof and the garage. If I went to the roof, I could get to Jacques, but I’d lose all the supplies. If I went to the garage, the betraying bastard would getaway. I could see where all the security was located, and also where there were enemies.

The security in the garage had been destroyed, and the syndicate had been using their control of the doors to continue to block the droids and turrets. I opened the doors and sent two destroyers into the garage. The remaining survivor I left behind just in case. I had three scouts as well, but I didn’t want them to be destroyed, and I had a feeling if I sent them in, they would be.

As for the destroyers, I didn’t think they could stop the syndicate. I just wanted them to delay it. Grabbing my guns, I ordered the destroyer to continue down the hallway. I started to follow it. The woman I had just spared only watched with her hands up as the scout guarded her carefully, its gun ready to fire if she did anything.

“What are you doing?” She yelled as I started walking down the cracked, broken hallway. “You can’t leave me here! If you die without rescinding its order, then I’ll either be shot or starve to death!”

“Then you better pray I don’t die,” I answered without looking back.

The destroyer and I boarded a freight elevator. It required security to access, but I already had the permission. I pressed the button, waiting as the numbers changed and the elevator moved. When the door stopped, I opened up the watch and clicked the Stealthco, triggering a dose. It was time to go all out.

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