Two flaming arrows flew past her head, hitting the support beam of the cabin. Danielle Roivas muttered darkly under her breath, pulling her head back behind the wall. The all-too-familiar chanting of the religious zealots she had been encountering came from back the way the arrows came from.
"Just my luck to escape from these guys, then get caught by them five minutes later." She stepped out from her spot and fired twice. The first shot went wide, but the second one hit the zealot in the head. His head burst apart as a full grown Plagas parasite came out and hissed. They were easy to fight if they were still inside their hosts, but when they left was a different story.
Danielle raised up her pistol, mind numb with the realization that she was on her last round in the 9mm. She fired just as the Plagas detached itself from its host and leapt at her. It tackled her, and she felt its needle-sharp legs tearing into her chest. She closed her eyes, not wanting to stare into the face of the monster that was about to kill her. The sound of gunfire came as a total surprise to her, and the Plagas quit its attack.
She opened her eyes a bit, noticing blurry shapes staring down at her. They were talking to each other in quick, worried voices, and the person nearest to Danielle was treating her injuries. She glanced around, unfamiliar with her surroundings. She had been in a cabin in that freaky village. Now she looked like she was in some type of lab. The person tending to her wounds was a woman with a black headband and brownish colored jacket. "Dad, what just happened?"
Danielle spotted a black man nearby checking rows of computers. "I think opened our portal to an alternate universe also inhabited by humans. And one of them was knocked through by that monster Gordon killed."
"Las Plagas…" Danielle whispered, pushing herself into a sitting position despite the pain in her chest. The woman treating her gave her a stern look, but said nothing as she continued to work on the wounds. "That creature… is a parasite that lives in its host until it becomes an adult. Then, the host is just a puppet for it…"
A man in orange and black armor crouched down by her. He was holding an unfamiliar pistol and must have been the one who shot the parasite. "The Combine are shelling the area. I guess they must have found out where the base is. Alyx and I were outside when it started. We need to get the kid out of here before Civil Protection comes."
The woman nodded. "Dad, you and Gordon get out of here. I'll leave another way with the girl. We'll be able to move faster if we split up, not meaning to sound rude or anything." She looked back at Danielle. "Can you walk?"
Danielle got to her feet, wincing only slightly as she moved. "Yeah. Just who are you guys, anyways?"
"We don't have time for introductions, but all you need to know is that my name is Alyx. Come on, we have to get moving!" A pair of large metal doors nearby shook violently under the impact of something heavy, and gunfire could be heard from the distance.
The man with the pistol, who Danielle guessed was Gordon, cursed under his breath. "Alyx, get her out of here, now! I'll protect Eli!"
Alyx grabbed her wrist, pulling her through another set of doors. They ran down a corridor until they rounded a corner and came face to face with half a dozen armed men in white gasmasks. Danielle's reflexes kicked in, and she pulled Alyx to the ground just before the air was filled with bullets.
"Stay down!" she shouted over the roar of gunfire, reaching into her pack. She pulled out a red incendiary grenade and waited until the men stopped shooting. That was when she pulled the pin and stepped around the corner, throwing the grenade down the hall at them. There was a burst of flame, and all six men were set ablaze.
Alyx stood back up and took out a pistol, looking amazed. Before she could speak, the sound of gunfire and crackling radios came in the direction they just left. They continued to run down the hallway, passing through rooms so fast Danielle couldn't even see what was inside. When they entered some sort of warehouse, the lights flickered and went out, plunging them into total darkness.
Danielle took out the small flashlight from her belt, turning it on and scanning their surroundings with it. Footsteps came from all directions, but she didn't see anyone when she pointed her flashlight around. She swallowed hard, reminded once again of the nightmarish village she had just left minutes ago. No way to tell which way they would come and how many would attack…
Without warning, something hard impacted her in the back of her head, sending a surge of electricity into her body. Danielle collapsed to the ground with the flashlight landing in a clatter next to her. All she managed to make out in the dim light was Alyx running off with three or so soldiers chasing after her.
Two gloved hands turned Danielle over onto her back. Standing over her was another of the gasmask-clad men. "Subject located and detained. Female, approximately eighteen years of age. No records on file. Bringing her in to the Citadel." Danielle's vision faded as two more men picked her up and carried her off.