The colony. Chapter 13: Command Post

Raytnov knocked on the door, but there was no answer. He knocked harder, but again without result. They stood opposite the entrance to Barney’s room, but for some reason he didn’t want to open it. Or could not.

- He is OK? - with anxiety in her voice asked Emilia, looking at Isaac. He stood with a bewildered look and only shrugged his shoulders.

“We need to break it out,” said Gordon, and took two steps back, in order to blow his foot properly.

He looked appreciatively at the door and set himself a place to strike approximately at its center. The doors of the living rooms were less than two centimeters thick - they were made of lightweight materials, which well isolate the sound, but do not differ in high strength. This was done with the expectation that in normal situations colonists should not be in danger of any dangers within the buildings, and if necessary, for example, as now, the door could be broken down with little effort both from the inside and the outside. Of course, the mark “in ordinary situations” does not sound very convincing, but so far no case of unusual situations has been recorded. In the end, if there was something on the body that could devour the colonists, then there would be no long-term prospects of sitting on the ass in a closed room.

Gordon was already ready to strike, when Raytnov abruptly stopped him, raising his hand. With his other hand, he took a tablet out of his pocket and led out a map projection in front of him - the blue dot still indicated the current location. Raytnov increased the scale and switched the mode, and the blue dot gave way to the five green ones, four of which were displayed on one side of the door - outside, and the last one was inside the room.

- He is there. Let's try something else before breaking the door.

Raytnov poked his finger at a point inside the room and chose the item “Call” in the context menu. For a couple of seconds nothing happened, and then there was a roar from behind the door, and it opened abruptly.

“Thank God you are alright,” Emilia said with a sigh of relief.

Barney's hair was slightly disheveled, and he himself looked sleepy. He stood silently and for some time transferred a blank look between his comrades, trying to understand what was going on.

“You are so vague, guys,” he said at last, “now go to sleep, then get up.” Just like a cat in the doorway.
- What was that roar? - asked Isaac, - how do you feel?

Barney thought for a moment and then laughed, moving a little to one side and showing the headphones that were lying on the floor next to the bed.

“I just decided to listen to the music,” he said, “and dozed off under it.” And then someone started calling me, so I jumped in surprise. By the way, what time is it?
“Just dinner time,” said Raytnov, “will you come down?”

Barney did not take long to come down and even went down before the others sat down at the table. He looked much better than in the morning, and now it was completely impossible to say that he could barely stand. Isaac never ceased to be amazed at the speed with which his body recovers.

“One o'clock, guys,” Barney said, taking his seat at the table, “you only lasted five hours without me.”

Gordon smiled slightly and met Raitnov’s gaze, which also barely contained laughter, and then they both laughed.

“In fact, my friend, and even less,” said Gordon, “we found you need your help immediately, as we sent you to sleep.” We just decided to give you a rest, while we walked around the base ourselves and looked around the whole time.
- And what happened?

Raytnov told him about their attempt to get into the command post and about the door with the scanner, not forgetting also to indicate the real age of the base. Barney listened attentively and then skeptically shook his head:

“Why do you think I can open the door?” I am a colonist like you.
“Well, not really,” said Gordon, taking a sip of water.

Barney put his elbows on the table and put his chin on his fists. He remembered very well that he received all his physical characteristics from the same corporation that built this base, but this thought only rejected him.

“I have a suspicion that this is a genetic scanner,” said the doctor, “so we think that your altered genes will be the key.”

Barney clenched his jaw hard, but no one noticed because of his thick beard. He wanted to get up and send everything to hell. He did not like that someone rummaged, not only in his head, but also in the genetic code. He is no longer the person he remembers.

However, he kept himself in hand, realizing that the doctor may well be right. Whatever the reality, this will not change, and you need to work with what you have. Barney sighed deeply and slowly a few times, soothing himself, then leaned back in his chair.

“I understand,” he said, looking Angus in the eye, “let's check it right after dinner.”

Then he got up, went to the coffee machine, and thirty seconds later he returned with two glasses of cappuccino - he put one of them opposite Rytnov.

“You read my mind,” he said.

Barney grinned wryly and took a small sip.

- I sincerely hope that at least this ability is not implanted.

Raytnov also grinned slightly. He understood the experiences of his friend about the naturalness of his body, but did not know how best to support him. But, at a minimum, the strength of the spirit of Barney is his real trait, which has always been with him. He will cope.

- Well, it's time to go check? Said Barney when everyone was done eating.

Angus began to feel anxiety again. Of course, it’s far from the fact that their theory will work, and the stubborn door will open before Barney, but the likelihood of such an outcome exists. He was sure that he had actually seen something outside the door, but he did not dare to speak about his night walk, fearing new suspicions to himself.

- Angus, are you coming? - he heard the voice of Raytnov.

He looked towards the exit and realized that everyone was already standing there waiting for him.

“Alex ...” he said softly.
- What?
- I have something to say. Go back, please, this is literally five minutes.

Raytnov exchanged glances with Gordon, who only shrugged. When they returned to the table, the doctor repeated:

- I have to tell you something.

He did not know where to start, so he faltered for a second, and then said it all as it was:

“I was in the aisle that night and saw something outside the door.”

He expected questions, but Raytnov was silent and calmly looked at him.

“When I was approaching the door,” Angus continued, “a lamp flashed above my head, and at that instant I saw something there, behind the glass. We need to be prepared for anything and should not go there without being armed.

Raytnov frowned - this fact could not please. It lacked only that they were in danger within the corps. He looked at Barney, who was scratching his chin with his right hand and looking somewhere in the center of the table. That he certainly does not want to get into any trouble again.

“Back to the hangar,” Gordon suggested, “and take the weapon from the rover.” We have five machine guns and pistols left.
“Yes, we definitely need to get out of this door,” agreed Raytnov, “otherwise we will just mark time.” Let's go to the hangar.

He got up, and everyone else followed suit. The doctor was surprised at the lack of questions, but just in case, he held Raytnova by the shoulder and said:

- Alex, I do not want you to suspect me. That night I drank more than I should have, and dozed off right on the bar counter. When I woke up and looked out the window, I saw several wolves near the entrance to the medical building. For some reason I decided to go there and check whether the doors are securely closed, and at the same time check how Barney is there. I know it looks silly, but then I did not think about it. And on the way back, when I was about to return to my room, I paid attention to this passage and remembered where it led. However, I could not get inside.

Raytnov looked at him for a few seconds, thereby causing even greater tension, but then nodded his head affirmatively and slapped him on the shoulder:

- I believe you, doc. Let's go to.

Once in the hangar, Gordon headed toward the rover alone in the parking zone to get a weapon from it. He had already opened the door and was about to climb inside, but suddenly he stopped, turned around and looked thoughtfully at the others.

“Now we only have one rover,” he said.

The loss of one vehicle also meant the loss of four seats. Yes, in the surviving rover, with the appropriate diligence, it would be possible to stuff one more person, but what's the point? When they leave, the rest will have nothing left but to climb into the inverted rover, buckle up, being upside down, and imagine that he is going next.

- And what if they manage to fix the second one? - suggested Emilia.
“Don't think about it yet,” Barney waved his hand and, pushing Gordon back, he climbed into the rover.

Once inside, he continued to speak, but only a muffled hum was heard outside, so it was impossible to make out the words.

“... as they arrive,” they finally heard when Barney's head appeared again, “for now we just need to turn on the dome, and then we'll see.”

In his hands he held two machine guns, one of which was immediately handed to Gordon, and four pistols.

“Gordon and I will take the machine guns and go first,” he said, “and it’s better for the others to arm with pistols, since there’s not much space and it’s more comfortable with them.”

When everyone was armed, Barney silently began to diagnose his machine gun, setting an example for the rest. As was to be expected, the diagnostics did not reveal any problems to anybody, and Barney concluded:

- And now you can be nominated.

Weapon in hand, they headed to the dining room, then to proceed to the command post. Gordon and Barney, as the two most prepared, walked in front of the column and proudly held machine guns in their hands.

“There’s not enough dramatic music,” Barney grinned, “six armed guys go to open the door.”
“Aha,” Gordon agreed, “something like an imperial march.”

As they passed the coffee machine, Barney decided to play a trick on Raytnov about his addiction to this drink.

“Hey, Alex, would you like some cappuccino?”
“Cappuccino,” repeated a voice. For some reason, female.

Barney did not realize that the coffee machine automatically turned on, reacting to a person passing by. Having recognized the command, the obedient machine set about preparing the drink.

“We'll have to,” said Raytnov, sadly.

The column's movement stopped for twelve seconds, waiting for him to pick up his coffee, for the second time in a day, carefully ordered by his friend. Raytnov shifted the gun to his left hand, and to the right took a warm glass.

After a couple of minutes, they were at the branch with pointers.

“Here we are,” said Gordon, pointing to the door.
- Is everyone ready? Barney asked, glancing at the rest.

Raytnov took another sip of coffee and found that everyone was looking at him. He quickly looked around at his comrades with a surprised look, and then looked at the glass in his right hand. Then he took another sip, put the glass on the floor, and, shifting the gun back to his right hand, said:

- I'm ready.

The door with a slight hiss went into the wall, opening a long dark corridor. A few lamps at its end still did not burn. Given the story of the doctor, it might have seemed that some creature was ready to appear out of nowhere and attack them right here, but it was just a play of imagination. Barney confidently stepped forward and headed for the scanner.

“Wait,” Gordon stopped him as they approached, “stay still here.”

Barney stopped and missed everyone ahead. Gordon, moving along the wall, walked right up to the door and stopped in the corner. Raytnov followed suit and took the corner opposite, while everyone else stood a little distance away, holding a weapon at the ready. The scanner, sensing the movement and noticing the two people who had approached, moved forward and set to work. Scanning Raithnoff first and then Gordon, he blinked red and hid in his connector — as expected.

Making sure that everyone was in position and ready, Gordon winked at Barney - he squeezed between Isaac and Emilia and stood in front of the door. The scanner did not slide out. Barney, holding the machine in front of him and aiming at the center of the door, took a slow step and found himself a meter and a half from the door, but the scanner still did not want to move out.

- Well? Barney asked, without lowering the machine gun.

Gordon pulled away from the sight, slightly lowered the machine gun and looked up.

- What do we do? - Barney also looked up, looking for a scanner. However, the ceiling was so flat that it was impossible even to assume that something was being pushed out of it.
“It seems I know what to do,” said Angus, and moved closer, “are you ready?”

When all the sights were aimed at the door again, he came closer and began to actively wave his hands, preparing to retreat and hide behind his comrades every second so as not to interfere with the view or even the fire. It worked last time, but, to the doctor’s surprise, the scanner was still in the connector and stubbornly did not want to work.

“This is too much,” Barney got angry and kicked at the door with his boot.

Apparently, the scanner also thought that this was too much, so he finally moved out and began to search for the perpetrator of his door. The first were scanned again Raytnov and Gordon, as they were the closest. Each scan took a split second, but still gave negative results. Finally, the scanner turned to Barney and began to scrutinize it carefully — longer than the others — and then disappeared. So without blinking either red or green.

Raytnov lowered the barrel of the pistol to the floor and looked puzzled at the ceiling - in the place where the ill-fated and fastidious scanner had just hid. He was lost in conjectures and did not understand at all what was going on. Until the lamps came on behind the door, illuminating the command post.

- Happened? He asked uncertainly, and just in case he raised his gun again.

However, the door was not going to open. Raytnov noticed some kind of glow behind his shoulder and turned around - the handprint scanner activated and invited me to put my hand.

“There is a second factor,” Alex said, and moved away slightly.

Barney felt a little agitated and chill running down his back. The Raytnova theory worked, and now they were separated only by a step from penetrating into the main building of the base, finding a lot of interesting things and finally turning on this damned dome. He looked at Gordon and realized that he was experiencing similar emotions.

Angus slowly walked to the door and, with his forehead in the glass, began to examine what was behind it. It was a rather large room, not inferior in size to the dining room, and maybe even surpassing it. The floors were dark in color and without any texture, but in the center of the room, just opposite the entrance, there was a large pale yellow circle, the purpose of which was not clear. Nearby was a medium-sized rectangular display, and Angus suggested that he was somehow connected to a circle. In the left and right sides of the room there were many workstations, and the walls in some places were hung with large screens. In general, the command post on this base looked exactly the same as all the command posts on all other bases. Angus also drew attention to another door, which was located behind the yellow circle. He did not know where she was going.

Raytnov walked over to Barney and put his hand on his shoulder. Barney looked into his eyes, and then his gaze slid behind his comrade's back — where the handprint scanner glowed slightly on the wall. Slow steps, he walked to the door, took his right hand from the handle of the machine and slowly led her to the specified area. Angus stepped away from the door and stood beside Raytnov.

- Is there anything? - he asked.

Angus shook his head.

- Noticed anything. But let's be careful anyway.

Barney stopped his hand ten centimeters from the scanner and looked at Gordon.

“I am ready,” he said quietly, and threw up the machine gun.

The hand abruptly covered the remaining distance and pressed the display. The recognition process took a hundredth of a second, and the doors quickly opened, letting the guests in. Barney held the machine at the ready, and his heart was pounding. But not at all from the fear that they would encounter something hostile here — it was euphoria because they finally penetrated the main building of the base and probably will be able to get some more answers.

Gordon and Barney at the same time made a small step forward and were on the threshold, leading a cross-review of the room. Once inside, they turned away from each other and along the walls headed towards opposite corners, bypassing the room around the perimeter. The rest remained in the doorway, ready to help if necessary.

Barney moved slowly and carefully, looking under each table — Gordon did the same, but none of them noticed anything suspicious.

“Nothing,” said Barney, lowering the machine gun and putting it to the fuse.

The rest went inside and stood in the center of the room, but no one wanted to attack the yellow circle.

- What it is? - asked Gordon, pointing to him.
“I don’t know, but surely it’s somehow connected to the display,” answered Angus and moved closer.

To his surprise, the display was active and offered to perform one of the proposed actions. The doctor read the names of the teams for a while and tried to guess their meaning, and then his face stretched in surprise, as if the secret of the creation of the universe had been written there.

- Same…

Without finishing it, he poked his finger into the display. The yellow circle on the floor began to light up, gradually becoming brighter.

- Is that a stove? - frightened Barney and walked away.
“No,” the doctor answered seriously, “how do you not understand?”

The circle has already become quite bright, emphasizing the contrast with the rest of the floor more strongly. No one understood why the doctor suddenly decided that for everyone the purpose of the circle would immediately become obvious, despite the fact that he was alone in front of the display.

The guys looked at each other in bewilderment, while Angus carefully looked at this circle and seemed to be expecting something. When the circle gained sufficient brightness, subtle blocks began to appear on it, which became more and more vivid with every second. One of them was strikingly similar to the hangar, and the other to the medical building, only much smaller.

“Damn it,” said Raytnov, rejoicing, “this is our base.”
- And what am I talking about? - enthusiastically threw the doctor, moving away from the display and going around.

The hologram was very similar to the one that Raytnov had already seen in the hangar some time ago. He walked around the base model a little to get closer to the medical building, and began to peer into the projection. The detailing was again at the highest level — not only the inverted rover was traced with high accuracy, but also several wolves who were still scouring around. The highlight of the circle created an excellent contrast, and the predators were clearly visible, and the yellow color, apparently, meant the sands surrounding the base.

Gordon, who was standing in front of the hangar, came closer, raised his hand to him and slightly took him aside. The hologram began to scroll around its axis, and when the inverted rover was in front of his eyes, Gordon stopped the rotation and began to peer in the hope of diagnosing the damage along the projection. Emilia suggested that the gestures did not end there, raised her hand to the rover and spread her fingers. The scale increased, allowing Gordon to see more details, however, he could not consider anything except the dents on the body.

“Just look at the level of detail,” said the doctor, “this is simply amazing!” And we see everything happening in real time, well, maybe only with a delay of a fraction of a second.

Receiving a volumetric, like a hologram, portion of impressions, he seemed to have forgotten about his play of imagination, and the fear of the presence of something foreign here disappeared without a trace. Barney grinned slightly and headed along the rows of workstations. On each of them were written the names - apparently, those who worked for them in due time. Barney turned on a station owned by a certain Colin, but the display showed a suggestion to enter a password or attach a finger. Not really hoping, Barney chose the second option, and, as was to be expected, was denied access. Damn Colin, he thought and headed on.

Colin. For some reason, the name seems very familiar and intimate, although Barney never knew any Kolin. He went on and read other names: Tony, Lisa, Andrei ... Barney.

He stopped in front of the station that belonged to Barney. Of course, the name is very popular, and it is not the only one in the universe, but the finger has already reached for the power button. The second identification option was chosen again, and the finger was lowered onto the scanner.

"Hello, Barney!", - the inscription was displayed and then gave way to the desktop. Barney stood still for a few seconds, trying to figure out how this could happen. Error in the program, and she gave access to the station to an outsider? No, this can not be. The explanation could be only one.

“Fuck,” Barney swore out loud, drawing the attention of the others.

Despite the fact that getting access to one of the workstations could not be called bad news, there was a tense silence in the air. Raytnov, however, was not very surprised - it was already clear that Barney was somehow connected to this base. However, Barney himself was pretty shocked.

“So, I worked here,” he said and confusedly looked at his comrades.

He nervously ran his hands through his hair, then crossed his fingers on the back of his head and took a deep breath. He did not even look at the display, but somewhere in front of him, at one known point on the wall. For some reason, then his gaze slid over to Angus, and Barney said:

- Do you know what's funny? It was less than four years ago. Maybe it was just a year ago, and maybe even less! Surely I was one of those bastards who are somehow involved in everything that happens here. Oh shit!

He turned around and kicked in the hearts of a chair that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, which quickly rolled and soon met another chair - and they both turned over. His comrades stood with their heads down - as if they were to blame for everything, and Barney was scolding them. Gordon looked at him sympathetically, but did not say a word - he knew that Barney would quickly take himself in hand after releasing his anger.

“We can't know for sure,” said Angus, “maybe you didn’t work here.”

As Gordon had foreseen, after a couple of inverted chairs, Barney calmed down a little.

- Okay. This is not important, - he said, turning again to his comrades and putting his hands on his hips, - we all have no past.

He looked again toward the workstation, which probably belonged to him. Opposite the display stood Raytnov and actively studied the menu items.

“No past ...” Barney repeated thoughtfully, watching him, “but can we get him back, doc?” If I really worked here, I have a chance to remember it.

Raytnov, meanwhile, took his tablet from his pocket and began to study something in it. Angus nodded and after a short pause replied:

- There is. True, there is no method to bring back memories for sure.

Barney continued to follow the actions of Raytnov, who withdrew a projection with a base map from his tablet and carefully considered something. Barney looked at another hologram, which towered above the yellow circle in the middle of the room. All the corps were still in place, and small figures of wolves still circled around the inverted rover. Then Barney’s gaze came across Colin's work station. For some reason, this name seemed painfully familiar to him.

“Hey, guys, I updated the map here a little,” Raytnov’s voice led him out of his thoughts.

The new card, which he poured into his tablet, was not much different from the old one, but there were some changes in it. Now on the map was indicated the purpose of all buildings. As was to be expected, the building next to the command post is another residential area. Together, these two corps were underground and looked like a bunker.

“Obviously, we are here,” said Raytnov, pointing a finger at the blue dot, “and now look here.”

His finger slid up, walked past the living area and stopped over the second hangar. The inscription, indicating the purpose of the corps, read: “Hangar / Armory”.

- This is the way! - said Barney, and a smile began to play on his lips again, - I hope there is something from the titans.

Raytnov turned off the projection and looked at his comrades with a smile.

“But this is not all,” he continued, and showed with his hand the door through which they entered, “we can all go through the scan and have access to the command post at any time.”

A smile never left his face. Angus habitually wanted to correct his glasses, but they were not there, so he simply pointed his finger at the bridge of his nose.

“And finally,” finally finished Raytnov, pointing to the yellow circle, in which there was still no change. Angus guessed what was about to happen, so he came closer in anticipation and stood next to the hologram.

Raytnov went to the menu and selected the desired item, and then clicked on it. A small transparent hemisphere with a bluish tint, the center of which was a command post, began to be drawn on the hologram. Gradually, it grew in size, and soon the entire base was covered with a dome. The wolves in the zone of its action seemed to be going crazy - they began to rush in different directions and wave their paws, sometimes even touching each other. , , . , . .

, , , .

– , – , – ?

. , .

– , – , – ?
– , – , , – ? Never mind. .
– , – , – , . , .
– , – , – ?


– , . - . , .


– , ? – , .
– ! – .

Gordon responded with the same gesture, and his other hand, smiling, placed Barney on his shoulder, who, in turn, also raised his hand in search of the next shoulder. Isaac and Emilia happily joined, forming a circle, only Angus stood uncertainly, not daring to approach. Raytnov looked at him questioningly and with his eyes invited him to close the circle, and soon the doctor felt the weight of his arm on his shoulder.

- For the cause! Said Barney, breaking the circle.

I will be glad to see everyone in VK group :)


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