The sound came softly at first, a faint, fast, rhythmic pattering down the long, damp corridor, growing steadily in volume with every second that passed. Then, as before, the necropolis fell to silence. The men within the hall shifted nervously from foot to foot upon the dust-clad flooring.
“What was that?” Elliot asked his compatriot softly, hands flexing restlessly at his sides.
“Rats. Probably.” Gerard responded tersely, his harsh visage scanning the murky tunnel.
“Haven’t seen any rats down here. Sounded too big to be a rat.”
Gerard shook his head and lowered his weapon, turning to his companion with a look of reprimand.
“This about Angela?”
“You’re getting paranoid.”
The moment Gerard finished speaking, a dark, multi-legged shape dropped from the ceiling and pinned the man to the floor. A maintenance drone. His compatriot whirled, hands shaking upon his weapon. Like giant insects, more of the robots fell from the ceiling and leapt upon the men as their screams trailed down the dank and declining corridor, swiftly replaced by silence and the sound of boots on damp earth.
Ryard Vancing cautiously approached the downed duo as the insectal robots formed up around him, awaiting his command. He knelt, felt for a pulse, and found two. The man plucked both of the weapons off the ground and briefly examined them. High-capacity waverenders. Lethal and extremely expensive.
Whoever they were, they had well-heeled backers, he thought briskly as he adjusted his hand upon the matte grip of his newly acquired weapon.
He examined his affin module; Tatter’s signal gleaming ghost-blue against the surrounding darkness.
“Getting close. Roll out.”
Upon the man’s command the machines beeped and scurried down the pulverulent hall, into the heart of the grim necropolis.