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INTRUSION! VENT 16! INTRUSION! VENT 16! The alarm was so deafening within the confines of the air vents that Charlie Hume and Megan Pace had to cover their ears. "I think we've been discovered!" he yelled. Megan was still staring out the vent at the strange object with its ghostly glow that made it seem to fade in and out of existence. It resembled some kind of shell to Megan. It was very hypnotic. "Where do we go from here?" Megan asked. Charlie didn't know, realizing in his haste to find SSI's secret lab, he really didn't have a plan if he found it. On top of the fact that, in the process, he also discovered the object from the sub. "Lets try to find another way out of the duct. This way!" Charlie said, as they started to move further down the line. The alarm, thankfully, stopped, but as they neared another vent, they heard another noise. Sort of a scratching sound. Something was in the vent with them and was crawling in their direction. "Lets go back!", Megan said, "I don't know what that is and I don't want to find out!" I couldn't agree more," Charlie replied, as they turned around and headed back the way they came. But further back they heard the scratching, crawling noise again. "Oh, hell," Megan cried, "now something's coming from that way. Charlie and Megan pulled out their guns. I see it!" Megan says, about 15 yards away!" Charlie glances back, then turns around to see something coming in his direction. And what was coming was weird and had them trapped. They looked like mechanical "spiders". Each appeared to have eight wire legs that shuffled along in perfect harmony. In the center of their "bodies" was a cycloptic eye that glowed a crimson red. As they got within 10 feet they stopped and sat idling. "These things are kinda freaking me out, man!" Megan said. "Okay," Charlie said, "lets take it easy. No sudden moves." "I ain't moving, unless its a way out of this creeporama!" Megan laughed nervously. Suddenly, the "spider" on Megan's side fired a dart that hit her shoulder. "Hey! That hurts!" she cried out. She raised her gun. "I'm going to put a bullet... right..into..that....uglyyyy.....eyyye...Then she collapsed. Charlie opened fire but the bullets just ricocheted. He immediately felt a pain in his shoulder. Dizziness. Then blackness. When Charlie and Megan awoke, they were restrained in chairs. They were sitting in an intense beam of light. "Are you okay?" Charlie asked Megan. "I've got a headache, however I'm about as good as any girl, whose just been "bitten" by some weirdo spiders and now finds herself tied up in a chair in some crazy underground lab. Yeah, considering. I'm good!" An intercom voice interupts. "WHO ARE YOU. WHAT DO YOU WANT." The voice sounded hoarse and gravly. "My name is Charlie Hume. In the last few days I've been knocked out, almost drowned, shot at, threatened and been chased by people I don't even know. And my investigation has led me here. Now why?" The light suddenly goes off. The room is now lit by emergency lighting. A door opens and in walks a tall black man with greying hair. He reminded Charlie of some of those nerdy computer millionaires that use to strut around back in Portland. He walks up but not too close. Charlie figures they are being watched by a camera somewhere. "I'm sorry about the darts. But you did intrude upon a private institution. We have sensors and as you have seen our "security spiders" do a good job. Maybe we can make a deal. You have something we want. If you give it us, we will answer your questions. First allow me to introduce myself, my name is Walt Dawson! To be continued: Next Chap. 17 "The Revelations of Mr. X"