An unclear assignment to an underground warehouse led me into uncertainty.
Ratatat, ratatat, ratatat. The sound of the freight elevator going down sounded like a countdown to damnation. I knelt in a corner of the elevator, gun at the ready. Sweat poured down my forehead and back. The brown, dank walls of the tunnel we were descending slid past us. Ratatat, ratatat, ratatat. The sound became duller, paler. My vision clouded, became blurred. Memories of the last weeks passed before my mind’s eye.
I had been getting lots of courier jobs through the fake Red Wind job portal. It was a boring and monotonous business. The only challenge was the storms on the moons of Hurston. But the plan was working. My reputation was rising.
Then I got this strange assignment. I was to retrieve three crates from an underground storage facility. The client wasn’t sure if the warehouse was occupied by criminals. Or even by something worse? After the attack of the Nine Tails nothing was safe anymore. I had asked Hermioth to help me. Secretly, I wished the boring missions back.
“Hey Zero!” Hermioth’s voice snapped me out of my thoughts. “Lower your gun. Otherwise the guards will get nervous.”
Confused, I looked at Hermioth. What the hell was he talking about? The order said something about armed criminals not guards. As if in a trance, I stood up and lowered my weapon. With a loud bang, the freight elevator came to a stop. The sound echoed off the walls several times. In front of us was the entrance to the underground warehouse. Crates stood on pallets, and the lighting in the entrance area was dim. A little further back, a path led to the right. From there came brighter light.
Hermioth went ahead, I followed him cautiously. Completely oblivious to potential danger, he rounded the corner into the bright area of the warehouse. It made me nervous that Hermioth was so relaxed.
“Hey guys. We’re here to get the boxes”, I heard Hermioth say.
Uncertainly, I peered around the corner. At first, I only dared to stick part of my head out from under cover. What I saw I had not expected. Then I stepped into the light.
“It’s totally relaxed here. Why are they making such a fuss about this job? Technicians, guards, everything seems safe here.”
Astonished, I walked through the camp. Guards were walking around, technicians were working on big screens.
“We’ll still remain cautious. Since the Xenothreat and Nine Tails attacks, everything is a bit more unstable”, Hermioth warned. “Come on let’s find the crates and get out of here.”
I nodded in agreement and looked around. Pallets, boxes, packages. The warehouse was full of them. Silently, I groaned into my helmet. It was not easy to find the three boxes we were supposed to pick up. There was no warehouse directory. But then one box caught my attention.
“Hey, I found one.”
“Did you look at the number?”
“What number? There’s none on it.”
“You have to lift the box up. Then you’ll see it.”
I had lifted the box only a little way when Hermioth made a dismissive motion with his hand. “No. It’s not for us. We……”, Hermioth faltered, simply not speaking further. Frozen in place, I stood there looking at him.
“Now I’m getting a little nervous, the alarm went off. Strange, yet all quiet”, Hermioth said quietly. I had the impression that he was gripping his gun tighter.
I quickly dropped the box and continued searching. My gaze roamed restlessly. Behind every door, behind every bend I feared an attacker. However, I seemed to be the only one who was seriously worried. The guards and technicians continued to walk quietly through the camp. Red flashing lights clearly indicated that an alarm had been triggered.
Finally, we found the right boxes and took them to the freight elevator with the tractor beam. I was glad to be back on the surface. Out of this underground facility. Out of the confinement, the oppression. It was good to see stars again.
I was surprised how much money was paid for such a simple job. Well, in the end it was exhausting. At the destination we were not allowed to use the tractor beam for safety reasons. When I carried the box into the airlock of the outpost, I first realized what weight it had. I could hardly walk with the heavy thing.
Still, the job was easy money. A lot of easy money. My reputation as a Red Wind courier was growing. Slowly I came closer to my goal. The smuggling route to Lorville was almost within reach.
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