The Coming Nightmare
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The Coming Nightmare | Before the Nightmare | A Nightmare on 234 Street | Spiraling Night Terror | The Revealing Dream

August 5th, 2015. 02:02:34 A.M.

Down hallway F, and back around A. Same route as always. Don absently looked around, brown security uniform loosely cuffed to his torso, security badge lazily bouncing with each step. The hallway's spotless white walls gleamed from the dim overhead lights, a few of which flickered.

He rounded the corner, and was greeted by the giant letters adorning the entrance to the building. "Promethues Labs." He kept walking, missing the shadows darting past the entrance door.

Prometheus Labs had collapsed not too long ago. Foundation raids, as well as MC&D and GOC interference had crippled the top down structure, leaving a few isolated facilities on their own.

Fortunately for Don, and the others that worked there, no one ever really made the connection between an obscure research clinic on the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama with a silly misspelling, and the anomalous organization itself. Of course, Don knew nothing about this. He was just a simple security guard. He wasn't even sure what this particular facility did. As long as the facility was open, he was happy to spend his nights doing almost nothing, collecting his annual one hundred grand, and watching TV shows he'd fallen behind on.

Don stopped in the middle of the hallway, the hair on the back of his neck standing up. A distorted ticking noise softly pinged off the tile walls, from about 5 meters ahead, and to the left. He moved quickly and quietly towards the noise, instincts and training kicked in as he drew the pistol. The bulky middle aged security guard pressed his ear to the wall.

Tick Tick Tick.

He took a couple steps back, and away from the noise.

Tick Tick Tock.

A moment of silence passed, and then the wall blew outwards towards him, in a small ball of fire and concrete.

Don managed to roll away from most of the blast, but took a glancing blow, losing his firearm in the debris as a combination of dust and smoke filled the hall. Two small cylinders rolled in through the debris, a thick cloud of white smoke venting from the canisters.

The security guard pulled himself from the tile floor, and looked to the billowing column of smoke, his ears ringing from the blast. Silhouettes darted through the thick and cloudy material, harsh footfalls barely registering over the echoes of the previous explosion. As his senses returned, the alarms blared, red lights flashing, as the sound of distant glass shattering reached him. The alarms stopped, as quickly as they turned on, surely disabled by the intruders hands.

A figure emerged from the smoke, and strode past in a flash of red and black. It ignored Don, leaning against the wall, and moved towards the front entrance. It stood in front of the sign, back to Don, as if waiting for something. "You aren't supposed to be in here," Don said, coughing as a trickle of warm fluid dripped down from his elbow. The figure ignored him, the flickering lights illuminating it briefly. A woman, red hair, wearing layered black clothing. The shaken guard pulled his phone from his pocket, only to discover there was no signal, completely ruling out contacting the authorities.

Don pulled a small metal baton from his belt, and pressed a red button on the grip. The baton extended out 45 centimeters, a small arc of electricity wafted the air with blue fire. The gap between them was closed quickly, arm rising for a vertical swing. The arm came down to a jarring halt against a gloved hand. The fingers wrapped around the device, and pulled it from his grip with surprising strength, tossing it deeper into the hall. A spike of pain in his abdomen, as he briefly stumbled back, having taken a kick to the gut.

He looked up, and was greeted by emerald eyes, burning in fire. She swung, and he tried to dodge.

He heard the words as the first punch landed across his cheek. "Too slow." Another in his stomach, a third beneath his jaw. He swung back, his fists parting empty air, before his legs were swept from below, a sudden wave of pain as he fell to his knees. He did't see the kick coming, the combat boot impacting the side of his face, hard and fast, sending Don skidding across the tile towards the column of smoke. Consciousness faded fast, as the woman's face hovered into frame one last time.

"What have we got?"

The occupants of the room turned to the speaker, a short man with a large forehead and hooded eyes. He scanned the room, counting heads. His cheeks turned red when the numbers didn't add up.

"Alright, where is she?"

The lights flickered continuously, the woman with red hair still hovering over the unconscious guard. She bent down at the knees, perching on the balls of her feet, and snapped several times in front of the older man's face. He didn't stir.

She sighed, and muttered to the walls, fluorescent lighting bouncing off the Greek letter Chi, and number 7 etched into her vest. "Too easy. Is it too much to ask for a challenge." She stood back up, and listened, the sounds of other people moving, equipment being dismantled, metal being shifted and moved. Her emerald eyes slowly arced across the hall, before landing back on the baton. She stepped over the man's limp form, towards the baton, picking it up, and turning it over in her gloved hands. Her thumb pressed into the red button on the shaft, and the baton extended outwards as before, electricity winding along its length.

A smirk took to her lips, as she pressed the button again, collapsing the baton back down before hooking it on her belt. She turned and walked back to the guard, pulling a piece of rope from her belt, and tying it around his hands in a tight knot, before gripping him by the collar, and dragging him towards the dissipating smoke.

"Anything Sal?"

"Nothing on 2546, but I'm not that deep into their database. Their security algorithms are older, but more complicated than what my field equipment can penetrate. Gonna have to download the files onto my quantum and do the analysis back at base."

"How long?"

"Download shouldn't take more than 5 minutes." The skinny man, with a pair of square lens glasses returned, fingers working away at the backlit keyboard perched on the desk of the server room.

"Good. The faster, the better."

The man with the wide forehead clicked a button on his radio. "Squads 2, 3, 4, and 5 status?"

"We're back at the vans sir. Managed to salvage most of the equipment and samples."

"You make sure to load those bio samples into the specialized containers like Dir. Andrews instructed?"


"Good, make sure they stay steady. Wouldn't want you growing an extra pair of limbs."

There was a moment of radio silence. "Commander Ryley?"

"It was a joke Jenkins."

"Roger." Ryley sighed, and clicked another button on his radio.

"Kyle, Rodney, any sign of our guest?"

Two men rounded the corner back into the server room. Both appeared anxious. "Nothing. She must have wandered off."

Ryley rubbed his temples. "Where the hell did she go? And more importantly, how the hell did she get away from you?"

"I swear, she was right there behind us, and then she was gone!"

"Well keep looking till you find her, or she finds you." Ryley barked, sending the two young men scrambling.


"Download completed, already Sal?" He said, fingers still rubbing his temple.

"Not quite. You may want to come here and take a look at this."

Ryley crossed the room to where Sal was sitting, pausing by the 5th squad member. "Kath, go see if you can help Kyle and Rodney. Lord knows if what Director Andrews says is true, finding her might be a challenge."

The young woman nodded, and jogged out of the room as Ryley strode to the console.

"What is it Sal?"

Sal pointed to the screen, a look of disbelief on his face.

Ryley did a double take. "Is that real?"

Sal nodded, "Timestamp confirms it."

Ryley looked back, making sure noone else was in the room, and handed Sal a USB drive. "Put that on my drive, then delete it. This stays between us. Neither of them should know."

Sal glanced at Rylely, a questioning look in his eye, but went ahead and did as requested, handing the drive back once the files were copied.

Ryley clicked his radio again. "Jenkins, do me a favor."

"What'cha need commander?"

"Make sure container 4 gets put in storage block E."

"E, but sir that's whe-"

"Just do it." Ryley cut his radio off, and sighed, eyes sinking into his skull from exhaustion. He almost didn't notice the footsteps, or the sound of cloth dragging along tile.

"Did I miss any fun?" Ryley turned slowly, and found his guest, with a security guard tied and bound at her feet.

Kyle and Rodney came scrambling back into the room, followed by Kath, out of breath. "We found her s- oh." Ryley shot Kyle a glare.

"Done!" Sal said, disconnecting the drive from the mainframe, and scooting the chair back. He turned and stopped. "Oh, Director Andrews."

Sherry Andrews looked back and forth between all 5 members of the squad. For a moment, none of them were sure what she was going to say. She smiled, showing teeth. "Time to go home."

Dir. Leep Andrews sat behind a wall of paper and folders, a veritable mountain of bureaucracy. No matter how many forms he signed, authorizations he stamped, or old reports he shredded, the size never seemed to change. Today was a bit different, today he'd managed to get through months of backlogged reports and authorizations, partially thanks to a humorous sign posted on his door by an anonymous member of the secretarial staff which read "Enter at own peril, occupant is drowning in paperwork."

The last 32 or so pages before him were the only unsigned/stamped forms in the room. 32 security personnel transfer requests. Leep's fingers massaged his temples, reading the list of reasons for each request, all of them centering around a certain Dir. Sherry Andrews.

"Harsh verbal reprimands. Continuous pay cuts, unrealistic performance expectations, constant morale degradation, assignment of menial, humiliating, or extremely dangerous duties." Leep turned to his computer, and searched for the names of each employee, pulling up their performance reviews. He might have been surprised, had any of the individuals been given good or even stellar reviews by their shift heads. No such reaction manifested, every individual had performed below average in at least 2 of the 4 observed categories.

A click pinged across the room, as the hinges of Leep's office door slowly swung open. His heart sank slightly in his chest. I was so close to being finished. Dammit.

"Place whatever you've got in the tray back there, and I'll get to it soon." Leep didn't bother to look over the stack, pointing to the tray behind him. He could hear the footsteps approach the desk, and then to his left, and behind. He pulled the denied stamp from it's place, and moved to press it on to the first form, expecting to hear the sound of paper being deposited in the basket.

"And here I was, thinking you'd never get through that mountain." A smile leaped to his lips, the familiar voice smoothing any previous worries into dust. Two hands with a strong but gentle grip clasped onto his shoulders. Leep Andrews bent his head back, and made eye contact with his wife and Site-234's other Co-director, Sherry Andrews. She bent down, and gave him a peck on the lips, hair gleaming with a crimson tone in the high afternoon setting sun.

"What's this?" Sherry reached forward, and drew one of the request forms from the desk, eyes skimming over the text. A look of satisfaction grew on her face as she put the form back on the desk. "Finally. It's about time we cleaned out the riff raff."

Leep's brow wrinkled, a small frown taking residence on his lips. "Sherry, we can't do this every time there is a member of the staff that you don't like. You've already got a reputation."

Sherry waved her hand, dismissing his concerns. "Had nothing to do with whether or not I liked them, Leep." She said, releasing her grip on his shoulders. The young woman moved a couple of items on the desk, and perched on the edge, swinging her boot clad feet back and forth. "I liked Dave, had a good sense of humor." She paused, "My "like" or "dislike" of our staff rarely has anything to do with how I behave. It's not relevant."

Leeps right eyebrow rose ever so slightly, sensing the slightly defensive tone leaking into her voice. "The reports seem to indicate otherwise."

Her face tightened into a cold and emotionless mask. "Leep, how many anomalous pathogens do we keep here?"

"Close to one thousand."

"Who's responsible for locking down the site if one breaks loose."

"Site Security."

"Who establishes quarantine with new cases. Who establishes quarantine if and when one of these pathogens gets loose? Do you see where I'm going?"

Leep leaned back in the chair, "Of course I do." His eyes caught a flicker of light, as the web-camera attached to his computer blinked on.

"Then you understand." She said, the corners of her mouth turning up in the beginnings of a smug smile.


"Good, then we ca-"

"I understand that you're hotheaded, impulsive, obtuse, and think you're going to get out of a reprimand for your actions." Leep said his demeanor completely changing, as he rubbed his temples.

The comments were unexpected, and caught Sherry off guard, her previously emotionless face having twisted into a visage of surprise, and a brief flash of hurt.

"I -" Leep stopped her mid-sentence, with a raised hand.

"I also understand that, despite your impulsive actions, you somehow still managed to be one of the, if not the most, forward thinking, intelligent, and compassionate people I know, regardless of the often unconventional ways in which you show it." He paused, staring up, "Despite the abrasive behavior shown to specific security personnel, it is difficult to argue that your methods failed to protect the employees of this site, and I thus don't have a valid reason to actually reprimand you. However, I would ask something of you, as your partner."

They locked eyes, Sherry's eyebrows raised slightly. Leep tilted his head to the right. Her head tilted towards the webcam on his computer. He nodded, and she registered what he was really doing.

"Could you do me two favors?" Her head turned back.

"Depends on the favors." Sherry responded, the uncertainty evident in her voice.

"Tell me when you're about to do something…unconventional."

She snorted, and rolled her eyes. "What, so you can tell me not too?"

"No." Leep's voice was firm, drawing Sherry's gaze. "So that we can do these things less obtusely…and as a team."

Again she snorted, her lips quivering as she suppressed a smile. "And?" The light on the webcamera switched off.

The grin he'd been suppressing spread across his face. "Stop being so tough. You're a teddy bear, not a cactus."

Sherry chuckled, lightly punching Leep on the arm. "You're full of shit."

There was a moment of silence, as Sherry tilted her head, checking to make sure the camera was off.

"How much of that was real?"

Leep leaned back in the chair, a solemn look on his face. "Enough to make it believable." He moved the chair forwards slightly, and put his hand on hers, drawing her attention back. "I was serious about favor one."

She nodded in acknowledgement. There was a moment of silence between them, as Leep released her hand. Sherry put her hand on his knee, and squeezed slightly. "How long have they been doing that." She nodded towards the web camera.

"Since 2546."

Sherry stiffened. "They aren't expecting us to…"

"No. Nothing like that." He paused, shifting directions. "Did the raid uncover anything?"

"Sal and the IT techs are still working on the encryptions. Don't think they'll find much, to be honest."

The conversation came to an abrupt end with a knock on Leeps door. "Come in."

Sherry didn't bother moving, merely twisting her torso slightly to the left as a young woman with dirty blond hair walked in. Sherry twisted back, her left eyebrow rising questioningly in Leeps direction.

"Er, Director Andrews," she said nervously, clearly intimidated.

Sherry shot Leep a bemused look. "New girl." he mouthed.

"What do you need Karen?"

"Commander Ryley is asking for you in the "War" room." she paused. "Both of you."

"Can it wait?" Sherry responded, non-too kindly. Leep's head turned towards her, a look of ever so slight annoyance across his features.

"He mentioned something urgent. Something about Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and a 2546?"

Sherry and Leep froze. They looked at each other, and then the girl. Sherry leapt from the desk, as Leep pushed the chair back, and stood. The two nearly collided, in a most spectacular fashion, resulting in a muffled giggle from Karen. Again, the pair looked at each other, before speaking in unison. "We're on our way."

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