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“This has to be the stupidest idea yet.” Paris says, not even trying to hide his derision. 

“Perhaps, but we have run out of time and ideas.” Nigel says, matter of factly. 

“I thought this was our last option.” Thomas chimes in unexpectedly. 

“It is,” Nigel says grimly, “because we are at our last option.” 

The guards leading them take little notice of the bickering. The younger guard is noticeably annoyed. He isn’t concentrating on the task at hand. Instead his mind wanders from topic to topic. He is marching in time with the other guard simply out of habit. The older guard, however, is a direct contrast to his younger counterpart. He has seen this thing on the loose first hand. He knows that this is a mistake to let these, obviously undisciplined and under trained, people into such a high security area. He remembers the last time visitors were allowed into this cell. As he remembers the horror he breaks out into a cold sweat. The nightmares of it still make him scream. The corps doctors give him a strong sedative to take the edge off of them, but it does little to help. He tries to dismiss these thoughts by focusing on the door ahead, but as he hears the muffled thud of his foot falls on the concrete he can’t help but feel trapped and afraid of what’s behind that door. 

As the others discuss the pros and cons of this latest, and possibly last bid to stop N’Kar, Nigel is carefully studying these guards. The younger one, Thompson, is disciplined and carries himself well, but he is arrogant and ignorant of what he guards. The older guard carries himself with the same confidence, but there is fear behind his green eyes. Their color is only more pronounced by the premature gray of the man’s hair. “No, check that.” Nigel thinks. “The man’s hair isn’t gray, but white.  

As they move further and further down the corridor a strange silence settles over the group. Each of them is trying to quiet the personal demons that haunt them, each trying to deal with the events of the last two weeks. A lot has happened that should have split them apart. Each stays out of either loyalty or necessity. When this is all over they may very well decide to go their separate ways, but for right now they stick together to fight N’kar and hopefully, stop this evil from spreading. 

Once they reach the bottom of the corridor, Thompson tells them to wait. The guards then separate and step into some foot templates about 6 feet from the door. Soon a beam comes on and examines the retina of each man. It takes a minute for the machine to verify each point of identification. After is shuts off clicking and whirring start to sound from the door. After the whirring stops the older guard slings the rifle he had been carrying and goes over to spin the locking wheel on the door. As he does this, the younger guard pulls the bolt of his rifle into position locking a round into the chamber and startling an uneasy Emily. As the wheel tightens into position the older guard shouts, “Ready?” to the younger guard. Thompson shoulders his rifle and yells back that he is ready. The older guard pulls on the heavy steel door and silently it begins to move. As the space widens between the door and the wall, the younger guard moves into position pointing his rifle into the room. When the door is open wide enough the older guard quickly unslings his rifle and moves in behind the younger guard. Both scan up, down and from side to side before announcing that the room is clear. Thompson moves down metal staircase to take position at the bottom. Rifle still shouldered he stands there waiting. Meanwhile Rogers, the older guard, turns to them and tells them to come into the room single file and travel to the bottom of the stairs. After the last one is in, Rogers pulls the door closed and each hears the locks clicking into place. 

“What the hell is that for?” Thomas asks, shocked that the door and the exit is now locked behind them. 

“Standard procedure, sir.” Rogers says. “Can’t take the chance that this thing might get out.” 

“If it gets out of the containment then it can definitely get out of the room.” Nigel points out to everyone. It didn’t have the effect he thought it would. 

“We don’t know that, sir.” Thompson shoots back. 

“Oh, really.” Nigel shoots back, gently chiding the soldier. “Judging buy the sheen of sweat on your associates brow he would beg to differ. Thompson nervously looks over at Rogers who is now wiping his face. 

The room is clinically clean. No chairs or tables, not the least bit of evidence that something lives here. As the group moves towards the center, Nigel notices that their foot falls leave a dull thud on the floor, no doubt due to the thickness of the steel lining the walls. As their eyes move over to the cell in the center they each stop and look aghast at what they see. Or rather it is what they don’t see that causes them to gape.  

In the center of the room is a 9’x9’ cell surrounded by a yellow shimmering force field. Inside the shield should be a being roughly six feet in height and two hundred thirty pounds wearing, well, wearing whatever he damn well pleases. Instead, what’s behind the force field resembles tar. It fills the cell entirely. Coming close to the shielding Nigel sees that this tar like substance gives off no reflection, not even from the shimmering effect of the field. 

“What has happened here?” He asks turning to Thompson. Rogers begins to answer, but is summarily dismissed by Nigel. 

“Well?!” He asks again waking the terrified guard from his catatonic like state. 

“We don’t know, sir.” He replies. “It’s been like that for about two years now. The last scientists came down here with some sort of energy dissipation device. When they turned it on it turned into that mass of black. They said that the ray would work with the shield to keep it in check. For a while there was some swirling and some gurgling, but nothing major. Eventually, it just stopped and settled into what you see now. About eight months ago we had a power outage. It shut down everything, but the field. When we came down to check we thought we were gonna find it in human form, but it was just the black. The scientists came back, did some more tests and announced that it was inert or maybe dormant. At any rate they left us here to guard it.” 

“But you don’t think it’s inert, do you?” Nigel asks. 
The guard looks at him sternly, “No, sir I do not.” 

“What makes you think that?” Nigel turns from the guard to look at the black mass once again. 

“Well first off there aren’t any rodents or insects in this facility.” The guard begins now speaking to the entire group and not just Wesley. “Normally, you wouldn’t think much of it, but I have been around almost every type of installation that the corps has seen fit to erect and not one of them is rodent or insect proof. It’s like they know what’s here and they stay the fuck away.” His voice ends in a crescendo that reveals his unrest in this room. 

“What else.” Nigel asks, not looking away from the mass. 

“Temperature.” The guard says flatly. 

“Temperature?” Nigel echoes back turning to face the guard. “What do you mean temperature.” 

“It’s always the same temp in this room. Can you feel how cold it is in here?” He says speaking to everyone. “People don’t notice it at first. It’s not cold enough to be a shock to the system, but it creeps up on you. Spend enough time in this room and you’ll freeze your ass off.” Thompson states. 
“Whoa, now what the hell is this thing and why are we here trying to let it out!!” Thomas interjects. 
“Let it out!!” Thompson yells, visibly disturbed by the idea of this. “We were told that you were just here to talk to it. Nothing more.” 

“And that’s all we are here to do, talk.” Nigel takes a step towards the guard to calm him. Instinctively he raises his rifle and draws a bead on Nigel. 

“, there’s no need for that.” Nigel stammers taking two steps back. 

“No one, I repeat, No one is letting that thing out.” He says.  

“Would someone please tell me what the hell is that thing.” Thomas says. 

“I’ll tell you what it is, it’s death.” Thompson says still keeping his eye trained on Wesley. 

“It’s not death, but it’s close.” Nigel says coming to face Thomas away from the angered guard. The silence hangs heavily over the group. Nigel steps forward and faces the cell. His head bowed, he is apparently deep in thought. After a moment he takes off his glasses and rubs the bridge of his nose between both eyes. Then turning to face the others he begins to speak 

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The following comments are for "Necromancer"
by wrath186

Necromancer Reply
Thanks!! I am still in the process of setting up the next installment. This didn't format the way I wanted it to. All the paragraphs seem to run together. I think it makes it a little difficult to read. I should have the next part done shortly.

( Posted by: wrath186 [Member] On: June 6, 2003 )

I'm intrigued. The title caught my attention, the story kept me here. Very nice work.

( Posted by: stoney [Member] On: June 9, 2003 )

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