05-06-2007 18:17:26


A reflective black steel door of an elevator slid open silently and four men formed a tight square around a taller fifth. Together they walked into the elevator and spun around. The door slid closed and Brian, the man in the middle moved his eyes to watch the man to his left reach out with a gloved hand to a keypad. The floor buttons had been removed from the elevator's paneling and replaced with a single keypad. The tip of the man's fingers entered a seven-digit code and then stepped back. The keys lacked numbers and made no sound whenever pressed, but Brian memorized the combination easily enough.

He felt himself become heavier for a moment as the elevator began to move, and quite quickly at that, considering the fact that he never completely felt his weight return to normal. The inside of the elevator was covered with matte white panels, denying Brian's eyes of any reflective surfaces.

The men around him were his captors and he was their prisoner. Both parties were dressed accordingly. The four men around him were dressed in the black combat gear of a soldier. Their torsos were crisscrossed with a network of straps and pouches and griped in their gloved hands were compact submachine guns. Weapons Brian had never seen before. They looked like a child's toy and at the same time vicious and deadly. All four of them wore some kind of respiration device with a filter on the one side and a thin corrugated hose that ran from the middle of the mask to a black box on the side of their belt. Under the mask there was a black skin-like hood that limited exposure.

Brian was several inches taller than the men and wore a white baggy jumpsuit that made him seem slender and frail. His large almost black eyes were constantly open and rarely blinked. The darkness of his eyes contrasted the paleness of his skin, which lacked any kind of tan or redness. He was handsome; his facial features were soft and angular, flawless. It was clear that someone made sure of his looks. Both hands were restrained behind his back with an electromagnetic device. The more he tried to break the restraints the stronger the magnets holding the clamps around his wrists became.

Suddenly the elevator stopped and Brian felt his stomach turn slightly and his body lighten. The four men formed up tightly around him once more, moving with one perfectly synced movement. He never heard them talk, or saw their jaws move for that matter.

The elevator door slid open and the first two men stepped out. Instinctively Brian fallowed, marching closely behind him were the last two men, holding their weapons tightly and staring ahead through the black lenses of their masks.

Brian looked over the black heads of the men in front of him and realized that they were in an office. It was a large room with one wall that was nothing but a long window. It looked out over the city, which was only a blocky silhouette against the setting sun. The office had a living area with black chairs and a couch that surrounded a glass table, which sat on an abstract stand. There was a small step in the floor, which lead up to a smaller platform that held a large black desk and two chairs, one in front of it and one behind. Nobody was at the desk or anywhere in the dark, dimly lit office for that matter.

They made their way over to the chairs and couch, the men's heavy boots thudding perfectly together on the black tiles. They walked to the couch and faced it; the first two men turned and faced their captor as one of the rear men came up behind him. There was a slight pause and Brian looked behind him as one of the men waved a disruptor over the restraints before they abruptly released his wrists. His foot twitched slightly as if it were about to kick back into the soldier's groin. But with unnatural speed the two men to his sides raised their weapons, pressing the cold muzzles into his temples so hard he could feel the rifling. The solider who freed him took a step back and raised his leg to his chest, bending it at the knee. With a sudden snap of the leg he kicked the captor in the small of his back, sending him into the couch. Brian collapsed against the couch, grinding his white teeth together in pain. The four men formed into a square again and entered the elevator. Brian didn't move until he heard the door hiss shut.

Feeling the effects of the drugs that he had been injected with, his mind felt heavy and blocked out, his memory faded into nothingness after the elevator ride and now his back throbbed with pain. Rolling onto his back, Brian winced slightly and slowly stood up, his legs uneasy. He looked down to the white jumpsuit he was wearing and pulled at it. Wearing the clothing felt awkward to him. Not that the suit itself was uncomfortable. It was loose and baggy. The simple act of wearing it felt uncomfortable, but he couldn't understand why. Whenever he tried to access his memory he came up short and the effort left him feeling disoriented.

Walking over to the massive window, he reached out and touched the glass with his hands, it was cold and smooth. Something was familiar about the feeling of the glass. Something more than having felt it before, but yet again he ran into a wall when trying to remember.

Suddenly the elevator door slid open, breaking his battle against the drugs in his body. He turned around, facing the elevator, eyes wide, hands clenched into tight fists. He was ready this time. He waited for more of the masked guards to enter into the office and beat him. A moment passed and the door stayed open. Then he saw someone step out. It was a woman and she didn't seem like it was her initiative to injure. She was tall, almost as tall as he was. Even without the full power of his mind he scanned her quickly, logging unique things about her. She walked with a sense of authority and as she made her way to the desk at the side of the room her long black hair flowed behind her. She was wearing a black business suit that clung to her curves. She didn't even look to Brian as she walked across the office and sat down behind the large black desk.

Brian slowly walked towards the desk, his eyes watching the woman's as he approached. Whenever his boot landed on the step her eyes moved to his and her head turned to him. He froze, his dark eyes staring into the woman's piercing blue orbs, another familiar sight.

"You were injected with a compound that is inhibiting your higher thought processes," the woman spoke with a flat, matter-of-fact tone, watching him from behind her desk, "as well as your thyroid and adrenal glands."

Brian nodded, "I gathered as much," he still didn't move, "but I should be dead."

The woman shook her head, leaning back in her chair and crossing her arms under her breasts, "No, not you. Any normal person, however, would have died an hour ago. But you can't remember that far back can you?" A slight smirk curled her dark red lips

The smile gave Brian a slight shiver down his spin, once again reminding him of the boot-shaped throb at the small of his back.

"Don't worry, I have the antidote. The injection was a precaution after you killed four of my guards. I'll give it to you whenever we have an agreement." The woman motioned to the seat in front of the desk.

He didn't move for a moment, simply stared at the chair until looking back to her, "Agreement?" He asked and slowly moved over to the chair and sat down. The chair creaked in the silence of the office.

The woman nodded simply, "Indeed, an agreement, you do remember the definition of that word don't you?" She looked at him from across the table. Their eyes were level but Brian couldn't help but feel like that woman was looking down at him in some way.

He stood and pushed in the chair, walking back down to the window and looking out into the silhouette of the city, "What are the terms," he asked, turning his dark eyes back to her, "of this agreement?"

Her blue eyes stared into his eyes from across the large office, "You serve under me as a personal protector and gatherer of information."

Brian turned back to the window and smirked slightly, "You want me to be a bodyguard and a spy? That's what you are saying?" He looked back to her, "I've known you for little over a minute and I know you are a shrewd business woman to the core." Brian doubted he could use the term, 'heart' or 'soul' with this woman.

There was a moment of silence where the woman simply stared at him. He turned to her, "What do I get?"

The woman smirked widely, showing white, almost sharp teeth, "What do you get? You get to continue living."

There was something bitter and evil in the woman's voice that made him feel cold, "Yeah, that's the part of the deal that I don't like."

"I'm afraid that you don't have an option."

He turned to her, a smirk curling his lips once more, "And why is that?"

"Because I have-"

"There is no antidote, woman." He walked over to the desk, standing in front of it, looking down at her now, his eyes intense, "I don't need an antidote. Your fog is lifting."

"I have other means of persuading you." She said, visibly unphased by Brian's ability to counter the chemical's effects.

Brian nodded, "You mean the soldiers that brought me in here? You should know the whole gas-mask look is pretty outdated."

The woman's eyes narrowed slightly and it seemed he had cracked her armor with that remark, "You still act like a seventeen-year-old." Her voice was angry.

Across the desk Brian grinned minutely, "And you are loosing your cool, business woman." He turned and began to walk away. Whenever he had made the remark about her guards she seemed defensive and insulted, as though they were a proud accomplishment.

"You won't get far, Brian."

He stopped suddenly at his name and paused for only a second then turned to her, "That will depend on who gets to your little elevator first." Brian turned, walking swiftly towards the elevator door.

"You don't have the down code."

"Don't need it," he said without turning back, "If I get there in time your soldiers will call the elevator down with me in it. I'm sure you already called them."

The woman's control slipped further and she angrily bore into his back with her icy gaze. But she didn't stand. If the chemicals were loosing effect a confrontation would immanently result in her death.

Brian made his way over to the elevator and reached up to press the only button beside the reflective door. He looked into the reflection of the room and saw her sitting there, angrily staring at him. Brian grinned. Then the door hissed open revealing the empty, white cart. "It seems as though your soldiers are late." He heard her chair fly backwards and the sound of her heals unevenly tapping across the tiles of the floor. Stepping to the side once he walked into the elevator and the door closed behind him.

The woman slammed the flat of her hand against the door and then gathered herself and slowly walked back her desk, pressing a button on the intercom. "Activate building reinforcements one through three."

Brian braced himself against the corner of the elevator, his body against the wall just before the door, his shoulder wedged in the corner. The keypad beside his face lit up for a moment then the elevator began going down. As the elevator traveled downwards he counted, and calculated.

The last trip had taken thirty seconds. The average story of a building is ten feet. Whenever he stood at the window the last time he estimated that he was approximately fifty stories from the ground. Assuming that the elevator started its journey from the ground floor that meant that the elevator's speed was eleven miles per hour. The chemicals were wearing off. After calculating he kept counting. Fifteen seconds, sixteen…nineteen.

Brian felt the elevator stop and he felt his weight return to him. Before he could think about what happened the door opened and the black muzzle of one of the guard's sub-machine gun moved into the doorway. The soldier stepped in swiftly, his gun's sights leveled with the back of the elevator. He stepped in fully but didn't turn to face Brian so he didn't attack instantly. Instead a second guard entered the elevator, this time, his gun instantly swinging to level towards the corner the Brian was hiding in. The guard looked down the red-dot sight for a split second at Brian before the crouching man sprung from the wall, slamming his body into the soldier's, knocking the gun away with the flat of his forearm. Brian dug his boots into the carpet of the elevator floor and drove the guard back, into his comrade and pining them both against the wall. The moment the black clad soldiers hit the wall Brian's hand moved up, pulling a pistol from the first soldier's waist. His thumb instinctively disengaged the safety and his index finger compressed the trigger. Without knowing he had moved the pistol to the man's side and felt warm blood on his hand and smelled gunpowder.

Brian's free hand griped the man's vest and pulled him back and threw him across the elevator. The second guard swung his since pinned sub-machine gun around but Brian's hand was faster. He slammed the butt of pistol into the man's fingers, breaking several of them. The pistol moved under the filter of the soldier's mask and discharged.

As the second man's body fell to the floor the elevator erupted with machine gun fire. Rounds cut in from the still open doorway, shattering the white tiles of the elevator walls and leaving black holes behind, spraying sparks and chunks of plastic. Brian knew the bullets were being pumped into the elevator in short controlled bursts by two firemen. Keeping himself plastered to the wall he knelt down slightly using his boot to reach over and kicked one of the dead soldiers' rifles over to him. He picked it up, studied it for a moment then slowly stood back up. The onslaught of rounds into the elevator cased for a moment and he knew they were waiting for him to poke his head out. He gave them what they wanted. With a sudden jerk he leaned his head to the side and then back. The attack resumed instantly after that.

Brian closed his eyes for a moment and visualized what he had just seen. Two soldiers were behind improvised cover in a corridor that turned off to the left. The corridor was lined and floored with the same black tiles as the woman's office.

Now, the fire was focused on where he poked his head out, so he slowly crouched again and leaned forward, readying the rifle. With a single solid movement he stepped out with his left foot, falling to the knee on the other. His hands brought the rifle's sight to his eyes. Brian felt time slow in his mind as he leveled the red dot on the first man's center mass. He pulled the trigger. Seven rounds burped from the sub machine gun and ripped though the guard and his cover. Right after the shots had been fired he turned to the second soldier and fired, seven shots once more, four of them finding the man's mask. Time resumed normally again and Brian heard the hollow metallic sound of cartridges hitting the cold black floor.

Brian paused for a moment, looking out into the hallway. His mind was cool and so was his blood. The cocktail of inhibiters in his system still hadn't worn off, but if these soldiers' tactics remained so straight forward, Brian figured he wouldn't need an adrenaline rush.

Standing up slowly, he kept the weapon leveled down the hallway and began to walk towards the two fallen gunmen. The first man had taken seven of the nine-millimeter rounds directly to his chest, each hole seeped thick crimson.

The other man had taken several rounds to the face, ripping apart the respirator mask, revealing bloody, torn flesh under it. Both of them had taken cover behind a pair of black-stained decorative tables, having strewn whatever was on it onto the ground. Using the tables for cover wasn't the most tactical decision on their part, considering that the rounds cut through the wood and into them as if the tables weren't there. Brian was beginning to wonder why the woman had become so defensive whenever he ridiculed the soldiers' fashion style. He was starting to see them as nothing to be proud of. Or, perhaps he wasn't the first to criticize them. Even so, Brian doubted that these were the same men that rode up with in the elevator.

Brian walked over to the first man and set the gun on the black marble tiles of the floor, giving off a plastic resonance. Looking over the man for a moment he started searching through the webbing and vest, rummaging though the various pouches. Oddly enough most of them were empty, but two of the larger ones held spare magazines for his gun. He found two clips of ammunition from the first man and found two more from the other guard.

He paused for another moment, looking at the grotesque mass of the second guard's head. He still couldn't see its face, only the mask and its mirror-like eye lenses were visible, Brian doubted that the face would be recognizable. Even so, the soldiers intrigued him, but he didn't have time, and his mind was too blocked.

Brian pushed the magazine release on the sub-machine gun and the clip slipped out into his hand. He had fired only two seven round bursts and now, with the aid of the pinholes that ran up the back of the magazine, he saw that there were only six rounds left. He dropped the magazine onto the hard marble floor then slipped in a fresh one before pulling back the bolt, smoothly sending a round into the chamber.

Brian's head turned suddenly to look down the hallway. Three dark figures stood at the end of the long corridor, nearly sixty feet from him. He froze up, holding the gun at half-level. His dark eyes focused on the three black figures as they stood perfectly still at the end of the hallway. Brian stood there, motionless. His instinctive thought was to find cover or in the lack of cover, crouch and become a smaller target. He didn't, rather he watched the ominous forms. Despite the low light from the small fluorescent tubes in the ceiling, Brian could see that they were unmoving. Soon, he realized these soldiers unlike the others. They were taller, lithe, their clothing was streamline and tight against their bodies, like another skin. Similar to the other soldiers they wore respirators but sleeker, more advanced version that were part of their black suits. And rather than the guns that the other guards carried, these figures held short, narrow swords that were no thinner than a razor.

Brian's eyes stared down the corridor, seeing the illusion of the walls tapering inwards to the ominous figures. These guards were not from the same caste as the four soldiers he had just killed. At this point he wished his adrenal glands were functioning.

Brian slowly raised the barrel of the gun, leveling it with the middle soldier's chest.

The three guards slowly slipped their left legs back as if preparing to run, leaning their torsos forward. The blades of their swords parallel with their left legs.

Brian brought his finger to the trigger. The guard's head was right aligned with his gun. Brian didn't need to look through the sights. The longer they stood off like this the more time the other guards had to find him. And the less time he had to get out of this place. Brian pulled the trigger. The weapon fired once, sending a single round down the corridor. It sliced through the air where the soldier's head had been and shattered the black marble panel behind.

The moment the round was fired the three soldiers sprang into action, the flanking two darted forward, their legs pumping with inhuman speed towards Brian. The middle one bent its head to the left, the round cut past its head. Then it too sprang forward.

Brian tracked the two dark masses and fired short controlled bursts in their direction. They were too fast. His mind couldn't possibly lead them at that time and the rounds cracked and exploded the panels. Then, Brian saw something he wasn't expecting. The two flanking soldiers ran towards the walls and scaled them, running along the tiles with enough momentum and balance to run along the tiles. Then they kicked off, towards Brian, their swords leading the way.

Brian felt a heat surge through his body as his adrenal glands pumped into his blood. His heartbeat rushed and pumped the chemical into his brain. In his mind the solders slowed in their flight and Brian saw their swords coming at him, saw the vibrating tip, and heard the dull hum. Brian arched his back backwards as the swords were thrust at him. The blades crossed over his head and as the vibrating blades connected a shower of sparks exploded into the air over Brian's head. In a millisecond the micron edged blades tore themselves apart. Brian felt a hot shard cut across his face. And in the slowed state of reality it felt as though it was being dragged methodically across his cheek.

Brian arched his back even further until kicking his feet upwards. Before his back hit the marble the black boots slammed into the solder's wrists, sending the swords clattering to the marble floor. Brian kept the momentum of his feet moving and curved his back, pushing off with his hands, flipping himself onto his feet, putting at some distance between him and his assailants.

The soldiers didn't stray for very long. As Brian landed on his feet the right soldier swung his black fist at Brian's face, the left punched at his ribcage. Both would have been precise, devastating blows had they met their mark. Brian's hands moved as well, catching both fists in his open palms. The punches were faster and harder than Brian had expected and the force pushed his hands back slightly. The muscles in Brian's arms pulsed and his fingers griped around the fists. He twisted his wrists, then his arms, twisting the soldier's arms into a knot. He instantly felt them try to pull away but Brian's grip was too strong. The guards punched at Brian with their free fists. He pushed their arms up into the air and stepped between them, letting go of one's arm and kicking behind him, the hard sole of the boot kicked out its knee. Brian's fingers clenched around the other guard's fist and twisted the arm again until the elbow pointed down. Brian broke the arm with at swift shot to the elbow and the soldier arched in pain. At that moment the third had just then caught up to them. His vibrating sword came down at Brian, but he heard it coming at the last moment and pulled on the broken arm of the other guard, bringing it in the line of his comrade's sword. Brian let go of the arm and as the sword cut though the flesh and bone Brian's fists and feet shot into action, kicking at knees and punching at ribs. He felt bones crack and kneecaps shatter. Then, before the soldier could counter with his sword Brian brought his fist back and then slammed it into the broken ribs, sending shards of bones into lungs, the heart. The solder dropped his sword and Brian dove for it, griping the hilt and swinging it around. The humming blade cut into a thigh, slashed across a chest. The solder that had dropped the sword dropped to his knees in a pool of his and his comrade's blood. The guard with the severed arm lunged at Brian, ready to fight until the end, but feel on its face, drained of its blood.

Spinning around he saw the soldier he kicked in the back of the knee. It stood there ready to fight. Brian turned to it, his soft pale face emotionless; seeming almost blank, save for the large black eyes and the straight pink line of his lips. The guard stood there for some moments later before its head jerked to the side suddenly as if it had been struck. There was a moment pause and it turned around and ran off towards the elevator.

Brian turned to the guard on its knees. He watched it as it jerked its neck slightly as if it were choking on something. Brian's eyes stared into the black lenses of its respirator, watching it convulse less each time. He knew it was drowning in its own blood, inside the mask. The choking spasms were now no more than twitches and then with one last jolt it fell on its face, cracking the lenses of is mask. Brian stood there longer, watching the blood pool out of the broken lenses. Brian's body was still circulating adrenaline and he saw this happen slowly, and with extreme detail.

Brian felt something from watching the soldier drown in its own blood inside the mask. It was something primitive, a part of the deepest, darkest part of the human brain. Locked away to never to be naturally expressed again. Breaking him from his trance, Brian heard the elevator door close. He needed to move. Someone would be notified and more guards would come. Time came back to him and his hand griped the sword handle tightly before running down the hallway in the direction the three soldiers had come.


“Where is he?” The woman asked, entering the building’s central control room, even before the sliding doors were fully open.

A young woman, her blond hair tied back stood up, rigid and at attention, “Ma’am, he eliminated the building reinforcements. One of their VibroSwords is missing.”

The woman walked into the middle of the large control room, flat-panel monitors and view screens covered every inch of wall-space. A long circular desk orbited a large comfortable chair. The woman sat down, surveying the massive screens and the monitors of the people around them as they typed nervously at their keyboards, “I didn’t ask what he did. Where is he?” Her voice was cold but slowly cracking. Nobody answered her. She sighed, cupped her face with her hand and said, “Activate all level one and two guards and contact his handler from the compound.”

“Yes, Miss Cell, ma’am,” said another young woman. In fact the room was full of women, and only women.

Julian Cell turned around in her chair, looking up at the largest screen on the wall before her. She looked at the three dimensional model of her building, seeing every floor, every room. Her guards were marked as yellow dots, slowly making their hourly portals. Then from one of the levels below the ground yellow dots poured from a large room, forming up into groups of four and began searching the building like a hive of angry ants looking for an intruder.

“Is it possible he left the building?” Cell asked, turning to one of her technicians. The woman queued up the display of security systems.

“Negative, Ma’am. Exits are secured and all windows are intact. His only options are up or down.”

Julian nodded, “What’s his handler’s status?”

“ETA from Delta Facility: thirty minutes.”

“Are the new heat scanners functional yet?” asked Julian.

“Yes ma’am.”

“Activate them.”

The display of the building washed blue, dots of heat throughout the building. Every soldier, worker, and other heat source glowed red and yellow.

“Subject 001 runs two degrees higher than the normal human body temperature. Eliminate from the scan all heat sources below one-hundred degrees Fahrenheit.”

The moving blurs of heat that were the guards and the workers in the building faded away, leaving only a few sources left. One medium sized room glowed brightly, fallowed by ovens in the cafeteria, boiler rooms and several other objects, but nothing was shaped like a human, nothing was moving. The woman was becoming inpatient.

“Eliminate all sources over one-hundred degrees.”

The young woman to her side typed at her keyboard before all the heat sources disappeared from the three dimensional image. Julian slammed her hand against the armrest of her chair, “Damn him!” she said through clinched teeth. “Have squads search all of the above one-hundred degree areas, he may be hiding somewhere.”

Brian opened his eyes, blinked, and then blinked again, trying to get rid of the cloudy film over his eyes. His vision was blurred and his focus couldn’t hold on anything. The first thing he realized was the ceiling. It was unremarkably white and when his eyes began to clear it was a bright blinding white. This realization helped him oriented himself. He was lying on his back. His fingertips found the cold floor beneath him. He then realized he had no cloths on. The cold floor chilled his bare skin. Brian felt his body. It was smaller, younger, weak. Slowly he turned his head to the right; one wall. Then he turned it to the right; two walls. He then lifted his head slightly and looked down his naked body and found another wall, this one with a gray door in the middle. The entire room was white and Brian couldn’t find the source of the blinding light. He closed his eyes and tried to remember how he got to this room but the last thing he remembered was heat and then darkness.

Soon he found that his body was sore and slow to respond like he was functioning in slow motion, like he had been paralyzed. A quick panoramic turn of his head showed him that that gray door was the only way in or out of the room. There were no ventilation ducts or drains.

Brian slowly raised his naked form to a crouch then to a stand, moving slowly, not wanting to agitate the splitting migraine between his eyes. He walked slowly to the door in front of him and ran his fingers over its cold surface. It was made out of a smooth metal and lacked hinges or knob or a handle of any kind. The door must slide into the wall, he reasoned.

Slowly Brian pushed himself from the door and started around the edge of the room. The walls where so bright and white that it was hard to find their corners in the absence of shading or shadows, so he moved his hands along the wall as if he where blind. The walls were made of the same metal as the door, but when he came to the wall across from the door he felt a different texture. The wall there was still cold and smooth but felt different to his hands. Unlike the rest of the walls this section warmed quickly under his fingertips like glass would.

Before he could tap at the wall with his knuckles he heard a soft explosion of compressed air and then metal sliding across tracking. Brian instantly turned around and saw only darkness where the gray door once was. Brian’s primal instincts sent adrenaline into his blood and the next few seconds that past seemed to drag for minutes. Then, slowly, a woman stepped into the room. She was a pretty woman but not beautiful. Her face was too serious and cold to have the warmth of beauty. She wore a business jacket and a short skirt. Her cold gray eyes squinted at Brian, but the boy knew her eyes locked on his so he didn’t bother to cover himself. In her hands was a metal tray with food on it. Brian tensed when she started to walk further into the room. She had a well-developed curve but well toned muscles where visible under her clothing and her steps where graceful and deadly. Her cold eyes locked with his, and for once in his life Brian saw no emotions. It was like the woman had no soul or feelings for Brian to detect and the thought sent a shiver down his spine.

She stopped in the middle of the room and set the tray down. Then, she turned around and started walking back to the door. Brian watched the back of her head, seeing the short red hair swaying with her deadly steps.

When the woman got to the doorway and stopped she looked back at Brain and her eyes found his once again. Then the woman’s cold hues danced down his naked form for a long moment then back up to his eyes. Brian saw an evil admiration in those eyes that made him tremble once more. He closed his eyes to unlock her from them. When he opened them again the woman was gone and the door had shut behind her. For a moment he had thought the whole thing was a dream, and then he saw the tray in the middle of the room.

Brian walked over to the plate, his feet use to the cold metal now. The tray had mutable cells and in the largest of them was some kind of dark yellow substance that was thick and chunky. Upon smelling it, it had a strong acidic odor. Two of the other cells were empty and the last cell held a thick tube that read: HYDRATION SUPPLEMENT. Brian picked up the spoon that was placed in the side of the tray and scooped up some of the dark yellow substance and tasted it with the tip of his tongue. No taste. Despite the smell it had no taste at all. He thought for a moment, wondering if the food was poisoned or held some kind of drug. Then he realized that whoever did this wouldn’t have taken the time and energy that they obviously took to take him here and then kill him off. He ate the food quickly and found that it almost instantly gave him energy and took the sting from his sore muscles. Then he tried the hydration supplement and found that it too had no taste.

When Brian was finished he placed the tray back in the middle of the room and found a cold corner and pulled his legs to his bare chest. Brian closed his eyes when he realized that his reality had shifted. His once simple life would never be the same he knew it and he was surprised to find that there wasn’t a part of him that fought for him to get up and find a way out of this place. If he did get out of this room then where would he go? What was beyond these white walls, he thought to himself.

Brian found his eyes heavy after he spent what seemed to be hours in thought. He wondered if they were really hours. He wondered if time even existed inside this white room. Brian wondered if he would grow old in this room. But even worse; he wondered if he would die here.

Brian felt darkness fall over him and his tense body relaxed as his mind slipped into a dark dreamless sleep. Darkness calmed his mind and caused it to freeze mid-thought. Little did the Brian know but a pair of emotionless gray eyes watched his huddled naked form with a shimmer of cold admiration.

Brian opened his eyes, blinked and blinked again. His head throbbed and his body felt wet. Reaching up he felt wetness all over his forehead. He looked to his hand and saw the gleam of blood mixed with sweat in the dim florescent lighting. Brian looked around him. He was in one of the boiler rooms. The last thing he could remember was and finding a hot corner and sitting down. Knowing about his body temperature and the possibility of thermal scanners he saw this as the only place to hide. But he must have lost consciousness, and dreamt a memory unlocked.

His forehead was cut but the bleeding had stopped. Brian stood, avoiding the hot pipes around him and looked around the room. He knew that he couldn’t survive long in this place, whether it cloaked him or not, he needed to leave.

His feet took him in the direction of the doors. Doors accessed using a keycard he striped from one of the dead guards. As he walked towards the doors the red light on the locking mechanism turned green. Brian quickly ran to the wall beside the doors, pressing his back firmly against the metal, holding his acquired sword at the ready. The sliding doors hissed open and guns, boots, and masks ran into the room.

Brian leapt from the shadows of the wall at the second guard as he rounded the corner, leveling his weapon to in Brian’s direction. His right foot led his way, slamming into the soldier’s knee, stressing it into complete dislocation. Instantly the guard raised his gun and pushed his weight onto the other leg to stabilize him. Brian grabbed the arm that was holding the submachine gun and pushed the combatant off balance. Brian put his finger over the guard’s and leveled the gun in the direction of the first soldier to enter the door who was just then swinging his gun around behind him. Brian compressed the trigger, and held it down. Bullets tore into the soldier’s face. Others missed and hit pipes, sending hot jets of steam into the air. Brain swung the gun around, the off balance guard he had control of swung as well. Gunfire erupted from the doorway as the other two squad members fired blindly into the boiler room. Brain leaned over, covering his body with that of the guard. The rounds made sick thuds against the flesh and those that missed ricocheted madly around the room. When Brian’s ears heard the empty click of the other soldier’s weapons and swung around, throwing the quite dead body away and with one arm straight and locked he pulled the trigger of the submachine gun. He fired until the magazine was empty and the two soldiers fell to the marble floor.

Now there was no reason for him to stay there. He scavenged magazines again, collected key cards and left the steam-filled room behind.

“Squad twenty-four has been eliminated, ma’am.” One of the techs in the control room said, reluctance in her voice. With each moment the President couldn’t find her special toy she grew more and more irritated, violent even.

Jillian Cell turned to the woman and nodded, fighting back her temper, “Where?”

“Boiler room.”

Jillian paused for a moment. Did it really matter where? If she ordered her troops to secure the area around the boiler room it wouldn’t matter. Brian could have been anywhere. Then, she realized that the man was out of the cloaking heat of the boiler room.

“Rescan for unidentified heat sources matching subject 001’s heat signature.”

The blonde-haired technician typed away at her keyboard for a moment then the large view screen showed the scan’s results. Brian was a column of yellows and reds in the holographic model of the building. The screen zoomed in on him. He was running down one of the hallways. He had already made it three stories above the boiler room.

Cell watched as one of her second level patrols rounded the corner of the hallway Brian was running down. She watched Brian skid to a stop, rise his weapon and fire. The first three men fell as they rounded the corner, completely surprised. The fourth soldier crouched against the wall and stuck his gun around the corner, firing blindly down the hallway. Brian walked slowly down the corridor, unphased by the hot rounds that exploded into the tiling of the floor and walls. He pressed his back against the wall and made his way towards the corner the soldier was using as cover. The soldier reloaded his weapon then leaned out to see if he had hit anything. The barrel of Brian’s gun pressed against the man’s forehead and fired once.

Jillian slammed her hand down onto the arm of her chair. She turned to the technician that sent orders to the soldiers, “Have all squads make their way to the roof, that’s where he’s heading.” She turned to another woman, “What’s the handler’s status.”

“Fifteen minutes. Should I call her off?”

Jillian Cell shook her head, “No, she’s the only thing capable of stopping him.” Cell leaned back in her chair and waited.