Killing Time OST – 17c – Gadgets

<< 17b – Gadgets

The safe was very high-end stuff, as one could expect. Embedded inside the wall, the only part I had access to was the front door which was secured by a series of crazy security measures. The damned thing even had a DNA sample thingy.
I didn’t know half of what the gadgets I plugged on various points of the control panels did. I would usually have blown the hinges – or something along those lines –, grabbed the thing and run. Unfortunately, that meant a lock-down of the mainframe and deactivation of The Device.
We couldn’t have that.
Hacking multiple layers of electronic locks was nowhere near my skill set. I contented myself with executing precisely Vexx’s instruction. In a way, it was a bit like the time we were here together; I was merely a mean to an end. In some ways, however, it was completely different; being in my head, he was conscious of the fact that he ordered me around and wedged a ‘please’ here and there.
“We’ll have to speed this up,” Vexx announced. “The guards started their round.”
I cursed under my breath. I hadn’t endured the ridiculous suit, the intense laser-avoiding yoga and the technological manipulations for the fun to end now. I plugged in the last wire. The machines beeped and flashed. While Vexx worked his magic, I switched from my ‘hot potato’ look back to my black Kevlar. I heard a faint ‘click’ within the door.
I opened the safe and began plugging another set of electronic stuff around The Device’s cradle. We would be in trouble later if I didn’t get this done fast. It was taking forever and each passing second meant additional risk later on. One of the tools slipped out of my humid palms. I picked it up and realized that my hands shook.
“Don’t be nervous, Lor. You can do this.” Nervous? What the hell was wrong with me? “Don’t think about it. Just breathe.”
I had never dealt with that kind of stress before. It bugged me. Vexx’s hack of the weight sensitive cradle required a couple of minutes; I closed my eyes and performed a quick breathing exercise.
Vexx wouldn’t have agreed to this if he thought I wasn’t ready.
“Damn right I wouldn’t have. Now get your ass outta there.”
I grabbed The Device and ran to the door, catching my half-emptied backpack on the way and leaving the rest of the tools behind.
Grab the Device: check. Now, the marathon.
On Vexx’s go, I stepped into the corridor and paced my walk back the way I came. The slow progression felt like torture but the looping of the camera feeds couldn’t be helped. As soon as I stepped onto the roof, I broke into a run. I jumped to the next building, and sped up toward my objective.
I had spent a couple of days planning the optimal route between Merrilyn Plaza – on the edge of the industrial district and the residential one – and Merrilyn Technologies’ headquarters – on the other end of the industrial district. Finding a track that was both easy to travel and surveillance free presented an interesting challenge but I was confident I had found the perfect route. It involved a bit of gymnastic and endurance but nothing I wasn’t used to deal with.
Or so I thought in the comfort of my basement.
My muscles began to ache at a quarter of the way. At first, it didn’t worry me. By the time I passed the midpoint, my whole body burnt and my breath escaped any form of control. I instinctively slowed down and dizziness seemed to catch up with me. Running never felt so wrong before.
“Lor, pick it up! The Device needs to be back on its pedestal before the guard checks up on it.” Vexx’s comment stung my patience. As if I didn’t know exactly what this mission entailed! I might be executing his plan, but I wasn’t a stupid robot.
I scoffed, which cost me more air than I could manage to spare.
“Push it then!”
I tried only to realize I couldn’t. My body refused to keep going. I had trained but apparently not enough to counter the lost of the nanobots. My steps slowed a bit more. Pacing myself was the key to reach the mainframe and come back to put The Device back. If I kept jogging, I would make it.
“Not in time you won’t. And training doesn’t have much to do with it. Your body remembers how to do this. Just tell your brain to shut up and deal with the pain.”
My knees buckled and I stumbled upon a bump on the roof. My hands broke my fall but the shock reverberated all the way to my elbow. At least my gloves prevented scratches. I should have known I wasn’t ready.
“So you’re just going to let the people who ruined your life win?”
My body is giving up on me –
“– Bullshit! The old Lorelei would have hauled a limbless body to the other side of town on sheer will.”
“Damn right you aren’t!” His voice boomed inside my skull with a force that brought me on my feet.
Fuck you, Vexx.
What had gotten into him? Was taking down Merrilyn Tech so personal he had to take it out on me if the mission didn’t go has planned?
Furious, I wiped my hands on my thighs and resumed my run. I wished I could escape the voice in my head but Vexx wasn’t going anywhere. How dared he comment on my physical capacities? Housebound tech-loving dork with a death wish! I wouldn’t give him another reason to complain and hammer my frustration on his jaw once I got home.
“Damn right you aren’t,” Vexx repeated softly. “You’re way better.”
Only then, as anger pushed over a ledge, did I realize what he had done.

18a – Anger >>


About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

6 responses to “Killing Time OST – 17c – Gadgets

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