03.Black Atlantic by Simon Jowett

03.Black Atlantic by Simon Jowett

Author:Simon Jowett
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Tags: Science Fiction
Publisher: Abaddon Books
Published: 2011-04-05T23:00:00+00:00

The team followed the same formation as in the vent: Dredd and Bane in front, Adams and Larson bringing up the rear. Vix kept an eye on Hellermann who, along with Peyton, was in the centre of the group for protection.

The machinery behind the service panel had been ripped away and a hole was torn in the wall behind it. The Warchild had escaped into the space between the inner and outer hulls of the Royale Bisley.

It was a strange place; an echoing plasteen corridor only a couple of metres wide but dozens high. Girders crossed it at every level, strewn with pipe work and cables, and walkways had been set into the hull material at irregular intervals. The entire space stank of rust - oil and ancient metal.

There were places where the Black Atlantic had obviously eaten clear through the outer hull, and the plasteen had been patched on the outside with welded metal.

The constant racket of the filtration plant was muted here, but there was another noise that Dredd had trouble identifying for a moment. It was a rushing, thrumming sound, rising and falling and creating weird echoes that boomed and rattled between the hulls. Dredd had to listen for several seconds before he realised that the noise was that of the sea, moving past him just a few millimetres of plasteen away.

He tapped Bane on the shoulder. "You've got some pretty fancy mutant senses there, captain."

"Er, thanks. I think."

"Just keep 'em sharp. This is a great place for an ambush."

They moved on, heading towards the bow. "It'll open up, not far from here," Bane told him. "The power chambers are on either side of the boiler and the hull space connects directly to them. There should be a hatch."

Dredd nodded. "Let me know if you see it."

As he spoke, something scuttled past his head.

He snapped a hand out and brought it back with the scuttling thing clamped between finger and thumb. It was a pale, fleshy spider, with a body that seemed to consist entirely of one spherical eye. Dredd turned it over, his lip wrinkling in disgust.

The spider reminded him of something but he couldn't tell what. "Anyone else seen anything like this?"

There was a chorus of negatives. "Just some kind of mutant bug," said Larson. "Place is probably crawling with 'em."

Dredd showed the thing to Bane. "These common around here?"

She shook her head. "I've not seen one before," she said levelly. "But like Judge Larson says, we mutants live in such filthy conditions it's a wonder we're not knee deep in them."

The spider's eye was rotating wildly, looking at everything. Dredd squeezed his thumb and forefinger together until the creature burst wetly and died. He was wasting time. "We need that hatch, Bane."

"It's just up here." She ran forwards and stopped next to a doorway on the inner wall. Dredd hadn't seen it, even with the clip-on flashlight. The mutant's night vision must have been phenomenally good.

Dredd's wasn't bad. Better since he'd been given his new eyes.


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