from later in book....
They reached the nearest airlock and everyone floated to a stop. Kate found the nearest control and she punched in the command level override. The telltales went green and the doors slid aside.
Loving’s helmet lights shone into the empty airlock. “I don’t like this, Captain,”
“I have to agree,” Tomson said. “Maybe we should turn back…”
Kate looked at a patch of red in one of the upper corners. “Neither do I,” she said. “But let’s do this.”
They floated into the lock and the doors shut behind them. The red patch looked like blood, Kate thought as the systems cycled in fresh air. If it was, then just what the hell had happened here?
She unlatched her helmet and took a breath. The air tasted old, Kate thought, but breathable. However, there was a lingering odor…and unpleasant iron smell that was familiar: blood.
Kate closed her eyes. “There is the smell of blood in the air. Don’t be surprised when you take off your suits.”
Loving blanched when she took off her helmed.
“God! You weren’t kidding, skipper! What the hell! I haven’t smelt anything like this outside of a slaughterhouse.”
Tomson took off her suit. “I hate to think what is the cause of the smell.”
Kate took the safety off her rifle. “You aren’t kidding, Doctor. Somehow I’ve got the feeling we’re going to find out.”
While the two women finished with their preparations, Kate crossed the room. She entered her command override and the outer door slid aside. The blood scent assailed her and Kate blanched. God, the smell was awful!
What the hell happened here? Kate thought as she stuck her head out to examine the corridor. Even the arena at Necko didn’t smell this bad!
The hall was clear and she looked back at the rest of the team. Loving had her rifle at the ready and Tomson held hers with considerable less comfort. Kate cocked an eyebrow and winked at the Doctor, who just glared back at her.
This is probably the first time she has had to use a weapon in combat, Kate thought with a wry smile, which Matthews will probably psych profile her to death over!
Kate knelt beside the door and motioned to Loving. The security officer made no noise as she slipped out of the airlock and proceeded a few meters down the corridor. Once the Lieutenant reached a safe location, she knelt and covered their front as Tomson moved forward.
Once she was satisfied their rear was clear,
Kate quietly made her way up the corridor. She moved slowly, back turned to Loving, sweeping the corridor for hostiles. The Bio’s had to be here, Kate thought, there was no other alternative, but where were they? There was no way the bastards couldn’t have known they were en route!
Loving pointed at something on the walls ahead. “Skipper, there’s blood on the walls ahead.”
Kate knelt and looked at what the younger woman had pointed out. A spray of dried reddish brown liquid covered both walls and a pool had congealed on the floor. Jesus, she thought, that’s a lot of blood! Just how many people had been killed there?
Kate shook her head. “That’s an understatement, Lieutenant. Looks like several people bit it right there.”
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