A manhole granted the pair access to the old subway tunnels, this stretch long abandoned, and in all manner of disrepair. A think layer or rust or graffiti covered every surface. The stench of rotting flesh, and the remains of more than one person whom had lost the blacks favor, rested here. Sid rested his arm along Cavalier’s shoulders, as the two slowly hobbled down the long tunnels, to where Sid had said they could find refuge, hopefully not completely forgotten.


  ‘Sure we’re not going to get ambushed?’


  ‘No, it’s one of the few rules they hold fast too. Everyone has moments like this.’


  ‘Huh, don’t know I’ve ever had to hobble down an old train line bleeding out my leg while walking past corpses.’


  ‘Lucky you.’ She gave him a serious look, before cracking a smile, but Sid thought he could just barely see worry on the corners of her eyes. ‘Should be a med kit.’ her face grin drooped before he added ‘A good one.’ Going back to the task, they continued to trudge in silence, in the damp stink of the underground.


  After an hour, they were beginning to slow, from exhaustion, Sid’s blood loss was begging to take effect, his loosely tied bandage now red with blood, when he pointed to a bit of wall. ‘You see that insignia?’




  ‘Mean’s that wall should be a holo-lattice. If you see it around, usually means the black maintains a safe house here.’ They maneuvered up to the wall where he placed his hand upon it. He took a deep breath, before tapping his fingers individually upon the surface of the wall, sometimes one, or two at at time, before it finally started to recede, the image growing toward translucency, the two almost falling in as his hand passed through the wall.


  It was a small bunker, maybe six meters wide and twice as long, cabinets lined the right side, a bench, and some lockers the left, further back a glass door to a shower, a bed on the right in the back. ‘Hardened light? Thought you;d only ever find that in some B and B secured facilities?’


  ‘Usually. Thievery has its perks. Just wait til you see the MedKits. They usually stock them with Higuchis. Nanostem and all that.’


  ‘So who is going to replace it?’


  ‘Hyugin after I ring her neck for this bullshit.’


  ‘Ooh. Sid didn’t know you were that kinky.’ she giggled at his blown raspberry.


  ‘See your moods a bit better.’


  ‘Yeah, well if you die I’m fucked. So.’


  ‘Mr. O would be pissed.


  ‘Yeah, didn’t know this was the kind of show I was signing up for.’


  ‘Times and measures.’ He finished as he crumpled into a chair. He pointed to a cabinet, where she liberated a large steel case, a big red cross covered most of the surface.


  ‘Damn. You weren’t kidding.’


  ‘Worked with one before?’


  ‘Maybe maybe’ she smiled, cracking the case and rifling through it for a couple of items. ‘Little out of date though.’


  ‘Well, you can’t always get your hands on the latest thing.’


  ‘Yeah, heard these one’s are painful.’ Sid was working his way out of his pants, as cavalier withdrew a syringe of gray colored goo, and a small shock wand. Higuchi had long been the cutting edge of medical science, having eliminated their competition through buyouts and bombings. They had a patent on organic nano-machines that mimicked human stem cells, only much more effectively. Growing to replace flesh mirroring the hosts on genetics. ‘Gross’


  ‘No way to talk to a man taking off his pants.’


  A minor tilt of her head back, her lips sticking out. ‘Wow.’ dragging out the word, her tone even and slightly lower pitched. Handing him a set of forceps, she cut the tip off the large syringe, and turned the shock wand on its second setting. ‘You know this is going to hurt a lot right?’


  ‘A. We don’t have any anesthetic in there.’ She nodded to agree with the statement. ‘B. I ain’t no bitch.’


  ‘Okay. Try not to cry too much.’ her face drew tight with tension. He drew in several deep breaths, before he reached in, grunting in pain as he dug around for the pullet that had lodged itself in his wound, quick pull and a low grunt, Cavalier pushed the tip in, filling most of the wound with the grey goo, before prodding it with the wand, ballooning goop popped like a bubble, sending up some smoke, Sid’s entire body shook as he tensed up, finally letting lose a scream. ‘Ow. That was right, in my ear.’


  Sid still gasping, breaths shallow and fast, he slumped against the wall. ‘Okay’ speaking between draws. ‘might have’ breath still lost to him ‘cried a bit.’ his face contorting in pain, as he tried to move his leg. Seemed fine, and he stood experimentally. ‘Seems like we can move if we need to.


  ‘Can we just contact Hyugin?’


  ‘A connection out is a connection in, a beacon out, well, same thing.’ Sid still winced as he walked over to the cabinets, pulling out a couple instant food cups, tossing one to Cavalier, looking through another one for a set of pants, before settling on a pair. ‘So we can hope she sends some people by, or we’re going to have to pray no one is looking for us. Would be a long walk back.’


  ‘And combat gear isn’t the most inconspicuous.’ Cavalier stripped off her top, pulling the ruined hard armor plate off, and tossing it on the ground. ‘I know how you like inconspicuous. Least your leg works though.’


  ‘Well that always was the Higuchi slogan, Flesh is best? Or something like that.’ Sid moved to sit back on the bench, pulling on the pair of pilfered pants. ‘I’m thinking we wait for a bit. Couple hours at least.’


  ‘What shall we do with the time.’ she rallied as innocent a look as she could. Holding eye contact he said nothing. Changing tactics she did her best imitation of bed-springs creaking, at that his bearing broke, and he laughed, contagiously she giggled as well.


  ‘You’re incorrigible’


  With a wink, she repleid, ‘Try me.’


  Elsewhere, a little in the future, but in a timeline less fractured...


  Director Sadler looked at his scientist, a visage bearing shock, yet eyes narrowed in suspicion. ‘Ceasar, you’re telling me we have to put down the help? That is.’ shaking his head, his mouth parted looking for words ‘Well its very unlike you.’


  ‘And, by day three, the subject was showing a number of instabilities, one of which I frankly lack any ability to explain. He knows your name. My name. My dead fathers name. He keeps screaming and falling catatonic after these outbursts.’ Caesar's fear was genuine, it was anybody’s guess what this Sid Vicious could possibly know.


  Sadler had the look about him like someone who had just found the golden goose. ‘That sounds to me, like the experiment was an even greater success than we thought.’ Sullivan observed, the definition of calm, and observed the two having it out.


  ‘But, if he can know things like that? What else? He’s moved beyond just being a loose end as is a full blown security viability’


  ‘True, but who else even come looking, much less know he’s here. Sullivan keeps our security tight.’


  ‘The security is as tight as it can be.’ Sullivan offered.


  ‘He also threatened me.’ Caesar mentioned, having avoided saying it thus far. ‘He seems unconcerned about his saftey, where he wasn’t before. It’s almost like he knows something we don’t.’


  ‘I wouldn’t be concerned.’ Sullivan said.


  ‘How about this. I’ll go visit the assistant and make a judgment. I’ll even relieve you from dealing with him, and well ship him over to one of the facilities back home.’


  Caesar looked unsure, but he suspected this was the best he’d be able to wring out of Sadler. He wasn’t sure if it was Sid’s paranoia that was creeping in, or genuine terror in the face of something he couldn’t explain. ‘Very well. That sounds amenable.’


  ‘Excellent. Sullivan you’re good to go about whatever you were doing. Let’s go see him now, if that’s alright with you Doctor, or later today if that would be preferable?’


  ‘No no, now is fine. Sooner the better.’ The pair stood, and headed toward the elevators that would take them down to the heart of the facility.


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