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Initiative

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In the end, the hatch was only few hundred yards from where he'd been looking for ir it the last time. He kicked away the worst of the grass that had grown over it, and then crouched down and pulled at the ring until the hatch opened.

Spike peered down into the black hole, and then dug out his cigarettes. It wasn't that he was nervous, or scared of going down - it was just a sudden craving of nicotine, that's all. His eyes still fixed on the darkness beneath the hatch, he let the cigarette burn all the way to the filter before casting the stump on the ground.

Then, with one final, unnecessary breath, he steadied himself and jumped into the hole.

There was no light in the complex, but he didn't need it. As he made his way through the labyrinth of tunnels, he could hear sounds from somewhere in the distance, moans and scraping and clangs, that echoed from the empty walls. Just the sounds of the dying building, he kept telling himself, nothing more.

When he passed one of the containment cells, something suddenly smashed against the glass wall, startling him. It was a vampire, its face nothing but dry scraps of skin pulled tight over a skeleton. It stared at him with empty eyes, bone-thin fingers uselessly scraping at the glass. They stared at each other for a moment, until Spike turned away with a shudder. There but for the grace of god.

It took him a while to find Maggie Walsh' office. The doors were all broken down and covered in scorch marks, but the contents of the room itself were luckily more or less intact. He tried the power switch on one of the computer terminals, but the screen remained dark, just as he had expected. He briefly considered trying to find the emergency generators, but then spotted a large filing cabinet in the corner. He opened it, browsing through the files until he found what he was looking for - a thick manila folder marked 'Hostile 17'. Good thing Maggie Walsh had been an old-fashioned woman who'd believed in hard-copy backups.

Lighting another cigarette, he took a seat behind one of the desks and began to read.