I don’t have much time to prepare myself because as soon as I make my decision, I hear the booted footfalls of enforcers coming behind me. I hurl open the door to the stairs and start racing up, up, up.
The footsteps go out of earshot when the door closes, and I go up, 1, 2, 5, 10, 18 . . . around floor 23 I lose count. I’m exhausted and my heart feels like a grenade with the pin pulled out.
A couple floors beyond 23 I see the last sight I will most likely ever see. Stationed on the staircase are three enforcers, masked and dressed in all black like all CyberCorp soldiers. They’re all aiming machine guns at me. I guess it’s time for me to make my peace with God or something like that, but all I can do is freeze and wait.
But the bullets don’t come. From two floors above me on the staircase jumps a figure clad all in black. It lands in a crouch directly behind the enforcers, and I can tell it’s a woman. A very attractive woman, I might add. C’mon Jack, you’re about to die here, pull yourself together. As I stand paralyzed, she grows four metal claws from each of her hands, and with a flurry of impossibly fast kicks and punches, summarily knocks out all three of the enforcers from behind. I’m still frozen.
“Go. Two floors up, I’ll meet you outside. There are more coming, I’ll hold them off.”
“With renewed strength I haul myself up the last two flights and out into the lobby of a CyberCorp Satellite office. Empty. Must be after hours. I race out the front doors into a parking lot with not a single car. Odd. Where do the enforcers park? I scan the area. At least I’m still in the city. Still, though, I need to get out of here.
A few second later, there’s a voice behind me in the parking lot. I whirl around to face the girl from before. “My name is Tess. I have seen to it that you may escape this place. Go quickly before more come.” There’s something oddly sexual about her, shrouded in darkness and staring icily at me in the cold night air. She is almost one with the night. “Well,” she says, “what are you waiting for?” and she takes a step toward me, her hips swinging almost imperceptibly with the violent feminine grace of a machine. What am I waiting for?
I ask her for some leads in the case
I leave and go my own way