So please, stay off my back
Or I will attack, and you don’t want that
I've got the power
-Snap “The Power”
After the sun goes down, I warm up for about thirty minutes by jumping and running over warehouses and train cars in the South End. I made a mix of hopefully inspirational music on the suit’s audio system, but I’m afraid it’s having the opposite effect. Listening to Snap’s “The Power” or fucking “St Elmo’s Fire” isn’t exactly motivating me in the Tony Robbins way I was hoping for – instead it just seems cheesy and desperate. So I turn off the audio right in the middle of “Highway to The Danger Zone” and just jump around in peace.
Once I’m suitably warmed up I work my way over to The Company’s building on the edge of the South End, a sprawling amalgam of old brick and new steel and glass. With an impressive series of leaps and flips I work my way up to the top level of the garage. I’m not being vain; it’s just a fact, people are always impressed when I hop and flip around like a monkey. What can I say? I have game.
Okay, here I am. I’m standing on the edge of the parking garage roof, buffeted by a warm breeze from the Harbor. I click my gauntlets into the glider wing hardpoints and spread my arms. Fwooosh. I leap off the garage, gliding on an updraft towards my target, a vertical cliff of glass on the west side of the building.
This time I stick to the glass. I flare my glider wings at the last second and gently smack against the building, limbs spread akimbo like a frog. The suction cups on my gloves and boots take hold of the slick glass.
I allow myself a proud smile. “Not bad,” I say.
Activating my goggle optics, I peer through the tinted glass and make sure I’m on the right floor. Then I wind back with my right hand and drive it like a spear right through the window in front of me.
It’s safety glass, so the window cracks into a crazy spider web when my fist punches through. I rip and tear at the hole until it’s big enough to crawl through, and then I do.
Family pictures, Post-It notes, bamboo shoots -- I’m in somebody’s cubicle on the tenth floor, one level above my objective. I was right. The Ninth Floor may be shielded and cloaked and reinforced, but the rest of the building is just good old glass and brick and Tyvek.
Time to haul ass.
I run through a labrynth of carpet-walled cubicles, heading for the staircase that will take me down to Nine. It feels weird to be here at work in my VM armor – it’s like I don’t belong in such a mundane environment.
I take the entire flight of stairs in one jump, skidding to a halt on the hardwood floor on Nine. Spinning around, I orient myself – the special QuantumWorks annex is fifty yards away to the west, beyond a miniature canyon land of grey cubicles and desks. It’s dim in here, so I scan the area with infrared. Nothing. Yet.
Trotting over towards the entrance of the QW annex, I’m surprised to find nobody manning the security desk. There’s a pair of stained teak double doors ahead of me, monitored by security cameras and accessible only with a high security pass card. They are probably reinforced with steel and have magnetic locking mechanisms, maybe even one of those stasis fields I’ve been reading about.
I break from a trot into a run, right at the doors.
Eye of the Tiger. Eye of the Tiger, baby.
I'm sprinting full-on. The doors blast towards me like I’m going into hyperspace. I twist my torso and use my shoulder, my padded shoulder, like a battering ram, striking the center of the doors with (and again, I’m not being vain) incredible force. The high-tech security doors crash open in an explosion of splintered wood and twisted metal. I stumble and skid into the main hallway in the QuantumWorks annex –
-- you know. The hallway with all the alien plants.
I make it about halfway to my feet before the first plant grabs me.