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One of the corpses lying in the reactor room jerked, broke free of the thousand-year-old layer of mud and began to get up to his feet. On the astral plane, I saw how the Reaper inserted one of its tentacles into the corpse and the implants in the body started to work. At the same time, the technique itself somehow 'reanimated' organic matter, triggering chemical reactions and a kind of metabolism in it.

When krogan saw the corpse rising, he roared loudly, and then fired a burst of his weapon at it, literally dismembering the dead corpse.

"What was that?" The salarian screamed.

Rina joined in his panic with a loud cry and jumped into a higher seat.

“It's probably a zombie. Do you remember? I warned you about them” I said my version.

“Nonsense.” Tria replied, sending a biotic charge into another body that had just descended the stairs and was heading our way. "There are no zombies. Magic is a fairy tale for ignorant savages.”

“Well certainly. By the way, the ability to create glowing balls that kill opponents is also a typical feature of stories about magic.” I did not agree with this assessment. "You can think of them as techno-zombie, which come to life not because of the spirits of the dead, but because of the implants embedded in the body.”

“So, these are just corpses that can move independently and act according to the installed program?” Krogan asked me.

“Yeah. This is a great definition of the word ‘zombie’. You can observe before you the final evolution result of an entire race the cycle before last.”

“Cycle?” Tria asked. While our intellectual conversation was going on, my companions had already destroyed two dozen zombies.

"I'll tell you about it later. If you survive.”

"Why aren't you helping us?" Rina asked, forming a biotic charge and sending it to the nearest walking corpse.

"In fact, these corpses don't threaten me. It's you they're going to turn into their own kind.”

"So, you lured us into here on purpose?" The asari do not let suspicious.

“It is necessary as pain. You wanted to come here. Well, who knew that this was the lair of the Reapers, and not the last stronghold of the Forerunner civilization?”

“You told me about zombies.”

“It was just a horror story. Although, of course, I suppose for some probability of such a development.”

"Will you stop talking and help us?" Tria angrily interrupted me. The stream of dead men was becoming more and more abundant, and already the entire floor next to the stairs was covered with them in three layers.

"You're yourself doing a great job. I think as long as you have the charges in your weapons, you're safe."

"I have fifty shots left in my battery." The salarian reported.

He had his own gun, which he preferred to shoot only at the heads of opponents. Krogan didn't say anything, but after another shot, he tossed his blaster aside and picked up a shotgun with kinetic charges. Buckshot was far less suitable for dealing with such enemies, because to reliable 'RIP the undead' required almost dismembering it.

I decided to study the undead samples, for which I need to come forward.

"All right, I will show how to deal with these little things.”

I grew a sword blade out of my hand, then leaped forward and began trashing the zombies, tracking their reaction to the damage. Pretty quickly it became clear that techno-zombies stops working only if cut through her spine or smash to pieces its head. Even without arms and legs, the corpses crawled forward and tried to attack the living beings.

I cut out four skulls with spines that snapped their jaws viciously, trying to bite me. Returning to the huddled group of tomb riders, I handed over to each of them a club of extremely avant-garde design, except for the krogan.

“When you run out of ammo, you can hit the undead with this.” I issued instructions for use.

“Looks like an impotent member” Tria expressed her expert opinion. The spine really did not want to keep its shape and bent when even a small effort was applied.

"Don't try to masturbate with that thing. Who knows what you will give birth to after this?” I said, looking at Rina. She just turned blue again. Apparently, she has a shortcoming, aggravated by chronic virginity.

"Why didn't you give me one?" Krogan asked me.

"You have a plasma cutter. There it is on the cart.” I pointed to the equipment the salarian had used to open the door so easily. "I would advise you to head for the exit. I counted nearly four thousand filled stasis capsules. If you do not hurry, then the zombies will simply clog the road to the exit with their bodies.”

“Yes, let's move.” Tria realized the precariousness of her position. The first shock passed, and she began to assess the situation more soberly.

Our group moved toward the exit, clearing their way. After firing the shotgun's ammunition, krogan grabbed the cutter and began fighting the enemies in hand-to-hand combat. Two asari and a salarian climbed onto the cart and used it as a means of transportation. The barriers in front and behind provided at least some protection from the hordes of zombies, so they managed to stay alive.

I walked behind and easily cut down the pressing dead men as the cabbage. The magic-enhanced sword was only seventy centimeters long, but it spread out bodies without encountering the slightest resistance.

Half an hour later we reached the opening in the steel door. Once inside, we were relatively safe. Krogan threw a bunch of plasma grenades through the opening, and the explosion cleared the area for a dozen seconds. During this time, the team was able to lift the cut piece of the door, insert it into its rightful place, and then weld it around the perimeter. The connection was quite clumsy, but stupid zombies were not able to overcome such an obstacle only with the help of brute force.

"Whew! At least they didn't have weapons.” I said.

"That's because I cleaned out the entire arsenal." The salarian boasted.

"Did you find the Arsenal?"

"There wasn't a single working copy, anyway” He said.

"Well, you can show me later."

“Rested enough.” Tria took command. "Let's go upstairs. And be on your guard. These things could have come out.”

We walked briskly up the stairs, pausing now and then to catch our breath. More precisely, rest was required for a salarian who was not used to such exertions. Along the way, we caught up with a couple of zombies, which krogan shredded them into pieces with a special frenzy.

As we climbed out, I examined my battle trophy. As it turned out, the electronics in the skull and spine had the same structure as the computer in the 'cube'. At the same time, the astral essence of the Reaper easily entered into interaction with the chips, if necessary, supplying them with energy.

When we reached the flyer, we boarded it in silence, then flew to the ship. No one raised the question of my right to be on board, knowing that I had the most valuable part of the loot, plus the power was also on my side. During the time that krogan was dealing with one zombie, I managed to dismember a dozen. So, no one doubted that in the event of a conflict, I would do the same to them before they could shoot me.

On the ship, Tria immediately loaded her subordinates with work, and she invited me to talk in her office.

"So, who are you again and what do you want from us?" She turned to me.

I took a deep breath.

“I am Atman. I also do research on Forerunner technologies. A ship brought me here, but I'm not sure it will come back for me. So, if you take me to some advanced planet or station, we'll assume that you paid for my information about the position of the Forerunner base.”

"What about the Forerunner computer?"

"What about it? This is my trophy. If you behave good yourself, I'll let you study it and even lick it.”

"Lick it?" Tria didn't understand my joke.

“Yeah. I've heard that the asari are very fond of licking and sucking the things.”

"What? Shameless! Pervert! Maniac!!! However, I don't mind sucking something from you... Undress?”

"Maybe later." I broke off her attempts in my address.

"Then get out of my office. Ask the Trampt to give you a room.

I glowered at the boorish asari, then got up and left without a word. But I didn't go looking for a krogan, I went looking for a salarian. A few minutes later I found one, but it wasn't the salarian I needed.

“Hi. Can you tell me where is Okren?” I asked him.

“This geek? He's probably in his lab. Are you the same person who lured our team into a zombie den?”

“Exactly. Lured, yeah. They put their own head in there, because of greed! So where did you say the lab is?”

"Come on, I'll show you."

As we walked, I met another member of the crew. It was a technician by the name of Garush. His relations with his countryman were not the best. Okren considered him as a primitive mechanic, and Garush responded by calling him a learned theorist.

In the lab, I joined the process of studying the stasis capsule computer. Fortunately, Okren liked to explain everything and everything to others, so for me he became a bottomless source of information about the technologies of this world. Ten hours later, we studied the computer completely, and I brought out its big brother, the main processor unit of the entire base. As it turned out, inside the capsule of control unit was the same but only less than a centimeter in size and without a power source.

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Enver Toleuov

  • Tashkent (GMT+5)

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