|Flight of the Spirit
Author: G.X. McBride PM
The events unfolding around a Runner named Spirit during the first parts of Mirrors Edge. Enjoy!Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure - Words: 7,665 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 4 - Published: 03-28-09 - id: 4952886
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
First off I'd like to say that other than owning a copy of the Mirrors Edge game I do not own Mirrors Edge. The characters from the videogame are not mine, and only the story I'm writting and the created characters belong to me. These are the events happening to another runner through the first level of Mirrors Edge. If it's well recieved and liked I may continue this story up through Spirits own adventures throughout the events of the full game, and possibly my take on what could have followed in the city after. Many thanks to those who take the time to read this, any comments are appreciated. Enjoy!
"What do you get out of writting in that notebook?" Faith asked.
Jack looked up from the small leather bound notebook he was writting in and brushed a lock of wavy black hair back into place behind his ear. It was time for a hair cut he thought as he replaced his pen into the notebook and closed it, snapping the cover shut and tucking it into an inside pocket of his grey fleece jacket, and dropping down the six feet to the rooftop of Warehouse 76, a four story club in the downtown area, and his favorite perch. He landed lightly on his feet and flexed his shoulders.
"Hello to you too Faith." He said with a smile. "Good to see you back. That fall was pretty nasty."
The asian woman gave him a smile that stretched all the way to the tatoo under her right eye and dropped a red and black gloved hand on his shoulder. "Good to be back Spirit. Merc sent me out here to check on you when he couldn't get you on the comm. You're late getting back to work, and you know he hates that."
Spirit shrugged still smiling. "I told him I was taking twenty for lunch."
Faith laughed and turned towards the edge of the roof. "Yeah, you did. But that was an hour and a half ago. See you around Spirit." She said as she jogged to the edge of the roof and launched herself through the air to the next roof a story down, she rolled as she landed then ducked around a series of duct work and piping on the rooftop and was out of Spirits sight.
The way she moves is so beautiful Jack thought and sighed. He slipped a hand into his right pocket removing a pair of fingerless red and black gloves and pulling them on adjusting his sleeves over them comfortably. His hand slid up to the earpiece in his right ear and pressed the small button on the outside of it bringing the comm to life. "Sorry Merc." He spoke into the comm as he began tightening the laces of his slightly too small red and black sneakers. Merc had always wondered about the size of the shoes, but Jack had told him they made his feet feel lighter.
"Damn it Spirit! What, are you writting up there a book or something?" Merc barked into the comm. His voice was stern, with a bit of a fatherly tone, and they both knew it was more bark than actuall bite. Merc was that way with most of his runners, many of whom had come to him with nothing, and most of whom he had personally trained in their craft.
"Actually yeah, sorta Merc." Spirit said as he started to stretch and loosen up. "It's about a homeless boy, who grows up with nothing, untill he meets his fairy god father who teaches the kid how to fly, so he can avoid the evil blue devils and bring presents and goodness to all of gods children. You should read it when I'm done, I'll even get you an autographed copy."
"Yeah, sounds real nice." Merc said suppressing a smile that Jack heard in his voice anyway. "Drummer says he has work for you, and you were supposed to be there twenty minutes ago. Kick the tires and light the fires on this one Spirit. Drummer sounded like it was hot."
"Will do boss. Tell Drummer I'll be there in ten. It's only a few blocks away."
"Hey kid? What do you get out of writting in that notebook?"
Spirit rose and walked towards the opposite edge of the rooftop Faith had jumped from and turned his red ballcap around backwards. "I'm looking for the answer Merc."
"Yeah?" Merc responded. "What's the question?"
Spirit thought for a second before replying. "I'm not sure Merc. If I ever figure that out, you'll be the second person to know." With that said he sprang from the roof.
Nine minutes later Spirit landed on the fire escape of a run down, disheveled apartment complex four blocks away, and began padding up the steps to the roof, his only sound the slight "krish" of his noslip soles on the stairs. Making the rooftop, he shifted his ballcap back to the front and pulled it low to shield his eyes from the cold wind that had begun to blow moments earlier. He glanced around at the city from seven stories up. Everything was brightly lit, the suns rays reflected back at him from stainless steel and polished glass, not a hint of a cloud in the sky. He glanced across the street at a three story likeness of Robert Pope on a banner hanging from some political building. He met the paper eyes with his own and stared for a moment. Pope seemed ok for a politician. He seemed to think society had become a bit too dependent upon the censorship and strict communication control of the government. He actually seemed to get it. If I were a registered voter I'd vote for him Spirit thought, then smiled wryly at the irony of that statement. If it wern't for the strict regulation of communication he, and the rest of the Runners would be out of a job. Would the city be better or worse for it? He asked himself.
"You there yet Spirit?" Mercs voice came over the comm shattering Jacks thoughts.
"Yeah, just hit the roof, I'm on my way inside now." He replied, then as an afterthought added "Hey Merc, any rain in the forecast for today?"
"Nothing on the scopes, nothing on the tube, and nothing in the air kiddo. Why ya' asking?"
"No reason boss. Just feels like a storms coming." Jack replied as he stepped into the rooftop maintenance doorway and started making his way down the three floors to Drummers apartment.
"Yeah, I hear that kid. Be cool out there today. Wires been quiet all day, and it's too good to last."
"You know Merc, I never have been able to quite figure you out." Spirit said with an amused tone as he slid down a handrail. "First you teach me how to jump over a ten foot gap, fall two stories, hit the ground running, dodge bullets, take down a trio of armed men with only my hands and feet, take jobs from the scum of the earth delivering their dirty little secrets to eachother via a route that would scare most birds, THEN you tell me to be careful? There's gotta be a joke in there somewhere."
"Just watch it Spirit. You know how I hate to lose money on down time and training a replacement if you take a spill." Merc chuckled.
"Careful isn't exactly in the job description these days Merc, but I'll keep my head down. I'm at Drummers place. Hit you back after, old man." Jack said, raising a gloved hand to knock on the door. Wonder what that was all about he thought. Merc actually sounded concerned. Jack shrugged and rapped his knuckles on the door, noting that it was blue, dirty, and had the number 309 scrawled in garish yellow across the outside under the peep hole. He heard muffled footsteps on the other side of the door, followed by the "click" of a pistol slide. The light from the other end of the peep hole went dark for a moment. A moment later the hallway filled with the repeated clacking of no less than eight locks and deadbolts being undone before the door opened slightly, just enough to allow Spirit to slide his short, thin form through the crack before it was closed again, the locks reset.
Inside the apartment was dirtier than the outside hallway had been. It looked, and smelled, like Drummer hadn't gone outside in weeks, with pizza boxes and other delivered food cartons making their own padding on the thread bare carpet and a stack of filled grabage bags tossed haphazardly into a corner of the living room area.
Jack wrinkled his nose at the smell, then turned towards his host. Drummer was a tall, thin, weaselly looking man with a pointed nose and a narrow face. His eyes were slightly too close together and constantly shifting around the room, and he looked like he hadn't shaved in a week.
"Damn Drummer Boy, I know times are tight and money is thin, but you have got to hire a new interior decorator, and make sure this one isn't doing a part time gig at the landfill will ya?" Jack extended his right hand in a closed fist.
The weasel of a man tapped his knuckles against Jacks and grinned. "Sorry Spirit, the maid took this week off. You know how hard it is for me to get by without the women of the house around." He grined nastily at the plural aparently finding his own joke funny.
Spirit glanced towards the back of the apartment, to the bedroom, seeing a long arm that was pale under a layer of dirt dangling from under the sheets of the bed and hearing a quiet moan as someone shifted on the stained matress. He supressed a shudder. "I don't know Drummer, you seem to be doing ok for yourself." He said trying to keep the disgust from his voice. He nodded towards the pistol in Drummers left hand. "What's with the hand cannon?"
"You know how it is Spirit." Drummer said waving his guest towards a chair. "Something to drink while you're here? You must get terribly thirsty with all the running you do out there."
"I'll stand thanks, and no thank you on the drink." Spirits eyes narrowed slightly. Drummer wasn't the type to keep a gun handy. He was a two bit, ten penny thief from what Jack knew, the sort for wich carrying a gun only meant extending his stay at the cross bar motel should he be caught. "And lets pretend I'm a newborn babe in our fair city, and don't know how it is. Enlighten me."
Drummer shrugged nonchelantly. "Dangerous times my friend. Maybe you should get your own piece? I sell you one, real cheap."
"Drummer, you'd sell me the gun for peanuts, then make it up on ammo. You know I don't need a piece." Spirit unzipped his jacket and shrugged out of one sleeve, then slid the strap from his yellow runners bag over his head then shrugging his grey fleece back on over his white T-shirt and pulling the sleeve up over the tatoo on his right forearm. "Merc said you got work for me?" He said, cutting to the chase.
"Yes, I have a delivery of..."
"Woah." Spirit said cutting him off. "Just an address Drummer, you know that. We don't ask about the package, so long as it isn't ticking, and the payment is good, wich it is if Merc sent me out to this dive."
Drummer shrugged again and nodded. "Corner of West and Central. The package can be dropped off to a blonde woman with a green jacket. She'll be on the roof of the Windgate Hotell waiting for you." Drummer droped a manilla envelope into the outstretched bag. "Come on, I'll let you out." He said heading towards the door.
"Won't be neccessary Drummer." Spirit said closing the bag and shouldering it, stepping over a bag of refuse towards the window. "This fire escape is on the right side of the building." He concluded as he opened the window and ducked out onto the fire escape.
Spirit crouched at the edge of the apartment buildings roof, letting the wind and the sounds of the city wash over him. From only seven stories up you could still hear the honking of horns from the cars bellow. A half block down the street brakes squeeled as a city bus stopped letting off a group of passengers before noisily accelerating and merging back into traffic.
"Hey Merc, you listening?" Spirit spoke into the ear piece.
"Yeah kid, what's up?" Came the immediate reply.
"You hear that bit with Drummer?" Jack asked. "Something's got him edgy."
"No, I was busy with Faith over on the other side of the city. Everything seem on the up and up?" Merc said.
"I'm sure it's fine. Drummers probably just late on his latest payment to his loan shark or something. Delivery is on the roof of the Windgate. That's half a city away, and a long climb up Merc. I hope you got your moneys worth out of this one. Give my love to Faith will ya?"
"Yeah, in your dreams Spirit." Merc laughed. "I'll see you back here when you're done."
Spirit backed away from the edge of the rooftop, turned his hat around backwards again and took a few running steps and sprang from the roof to the next roof over steadily building speed as he vaulted over an air conditioner. Soon after he was fully immersed in what Merc had always called "The Flow". The Flow was a mindset, like the focus of an athlete or a martial artist. To Spirit it was like being asleep but awake at the same time. His body and reflexes seemed to make all his decisions, freeing his mind to roam as the wind rushed by adding its own sort of music to the rythemic pounding of his heart, the constant inhale and exhale of his breathing and the quiet sound of his footfalls speeding across rooftops, punctuated by thunderous silences as he would hold his breath while leaping from rooftop to rooftop or vaulting over obstacles. For Jack St. Thomas, aka Spirit, it was like an orchestra for the soul. These moments of rythemic running, and speed, and controlled free fall, as he danced across the city were his way of centering and clearing his mind of the hectic, frantic struggle just to get by on the edges and deep in the cracks of a city who controlled the lives of its citizens with an iron fist.
That's right Spirit, he thought to himself. Drummers just having some personal issues. That explains the gun, the fact that he's laying low just means someones looking for him. Or he thinks someone is anyway. But he still had that prostitute with him didn't he? Who would try to lay low, but bring a hooker into his home? Well, Jack had never credited Drummer with an overabundance of intelligence. Maybe she was an actuall girlfriend Jack thought as he vaulted over a glass skylight. A dirty weasel like Drummer with a steady date? No way he told himself. With a smell like that he's gotta be paying for it, the thought evoked a grin as he lept from a rooftop over a barbed wire fence on the next building, hit the ground and rolled then immediately used a stack of crates as a springboard onto the upper reaches of the roof and accelerated smoothely.
He's probably just staying out of sight after a particularly good haul. Yeah, that makes sense. That's what I'd do. That settles the issue. Spirit told himself as he slid down a stack of wood leaning against the side of a building under construction and turned out onto the scaffolding surrounding it. He's just laying low and waiting on his paycheck, wich is probably what I'm carrying in this bag. His payday. Nothing to sweat over man. He told himself. A few steps later he ran across the wall of the unfinished building over a gap and lept to the scaffolding on the other side. So there's nothing to worry over? Then why is it, Spirit asked himself as his feet flew over the cities rooftops, that I can't stop thinking about it?
A short time later Spirit stood on a rooftop six stories above the downtown district of the city. The Windgate Hotel loomed across from him him like a high tech castle armored with the new tech shine of mirrored glass, it's outline punctuated here and there by what appeared to be polished steel statues between the balconies ringing it's first ten stories. The last ten stories of the building thinned out gradually giving the steadily rising roof a fourty five degree angle wich topped itself with a square open top big enough to land a hellicopter on. The top floor appeared to only house a scant handfull of rooms and penthouses, the homes away from home of those with the money and influence to afford them. Somewhere on the roof above his contact waited.
"Yo, Mercury, you awake?" Jack said into his comm.
"Yeah Spirit, I'm showing you across the street from the Windgate." Mercs voice sounded in his ear.
"Wire still quiet?" Spirit asked.
"Yeah kid, silent as it gets in the city these days. You still feeling edgy about this run?" Merc asked.
"Some, yeah. Just doesn't fit, Drummer being uptight, then sending me to a place like this. No one with the kind of cash to stay in a place like this would deal with that weasel."
"Could just be a random pick up point Spirit. You want me to send Krieg over as a back up, just in case?" Merc asked.
Well that told Jack something. Merc wouldn't offer to send Krieg out unless he didn't like the way things looked either. "I'm good Merc, I'll do the drop then make tracks." He said.
"Sounds like a plan kid. Watch your six in...." Mercs voice cut out for a moment. "Faiths got trouble kid, gotta jet. You're flying solo on this one."
"Gotcha chief." Spirit replied, but the only response from the line was empty silence. Wonder what that's about? Jack thought to himself. Faith was as street savy as Runners came, definately one of the best on the rooftops. What could she have gotton into? Jack scowled and padded across the roof, breaking into a sprint on the other side and leaping out, catching a nearby flag pole rising from the front of a store. He slid down the pole to street level and upon landing, quickly turned his hat around forwards, hiding his face behind the brim of the cap, and turning his head from the amazed glances of some of the pedestrians. No one stopped to question him, or even speak. In a city where conformity was the law of the street it didn't pay to get involved in someone elses buisness.
As he walked across the cross walk towards the hotel Jack scowled to himself. The noise of engines hammered his ears, the smell of exhaust assaulted his nostrils, and the voices and footsteps of the peds all around made him feel small and vulnerable. He hated being on ground level in the city. He privately thought of himself as a denzien of the skies, able to soar above the every day grind of the city, and he prefered it that way. He walked past the front entrance of the Windgate ducking into an alley behind the building. From there he sprang onto a dumpster and lept up to catch what looked like a water pipe, climbing up it two stories then flinging himself out to catch one of the balconies. He pulled himself up onto the balcony, stepped over the hand rail, then slid open the glass door leading inside. Funny how they never lock these things Jack thought. Everyone assumes that if someone wants to break into a room they'll do it from inside, no one thinks about a break in from an outside door three stories above the ground. He'd heard stories of Runners that had turned to have careers as cat burglars, and had done fairly well for themselves...till they were eventually caught.
You could only tempt fate so much, and Jack figured he gave fate its share of temptation every day on the rooftops of the city. He walked swiftly through the interior of the room and opened the door, stepping into the rooms hallway, pretending to be just another patron leaving his room to go out into the city. He quickly made his way to the elevator and pressed the button for the roof.
As the elevator began its ascent to the roof Jack crossed his fingers hoping the roof wouldn't be too crowded. The movers and shakers liked to use it as a vantage point or a place to relax while enjoying a drink or a swim in the olympic sized pool up there. He glanced over at an LCD screen built into the side of the elevator as he wondered to himself if any of the cities fat cats had managed to get drunk and fall off the side. He didn't think so. Amidst the adds scrolling by on the screen one in particular caught his attention.
The newest threat to
Are your children safe?
Is your radio transmiting secret messages?
Find out what you should know!
5 Signs Someone You Know might be a Runner
1.)Telltale scuffmarks on their clothes.
2.) Unexplained scrapes, bruises or broken bones.
3.) Unreliable or enexplained absences from work or school.
4.) Calluses on the palm, knuckle, or fintertips.
5.) A Fondness for the Color Red
A Fondness for the color red? Jack thought as the elevator came to a stop. What are they outlawing colors now? The doors slid open and Spirit stepped out on the roof and looked around. He saw only one patron, and the bartender, although at this time of day the roof should have been filled with mid management white colar types unwinding after another day on the job. He felt the hairs on the back of his neck raise and his stomach tightened into a cold lump as he moved around the pool towards the sole person on the rooftop. Her back was to him, showing a dark shoes and black slacks, with a bright green jacket covering a shapely form. Her blonde hair fell in curls down to her shoulders. Overall Jack figured Drummer would have been on his knees panting by then. Jack stopped a few steps behind and to the right of the woman.
She turned and fixed him with a green eyed stare, her gaze sweeping briefly over his shoes, up his black pants, over his grey fleece jacket, thin mouth, and stopping on his grey eyes. He took in her angular features and met her gaze then calmly raised a hand to his hat and made a show of turning it around backwards again.
"Package delivery for blonde girl, green coat?" He said keeping his voice steady.
He could tell by the way her eyes narrowed that she wasn't used to being called "girl". She was used to being in control of her suroundings and everyone in them.
"The Elevator? I thought you guys were supposed to fly up here or something?" She said conversationally.
"Twenty stories up? No thanks. My arms get tired after a while." Spirit responded forcing a smile.
The lady actually smiled and chuckled at that. Spirit noticed the way her smile lit her face and made her eyes sparkle. He read genuine amusement in her face and he returned it with a faint smile of his own.
"How many times a day do you use that bad joke?" She asked trying to lock his eyes onto hers.
"Once each day, and twice on Sundays." Spirit said calmly as he glanced down noticing that her hand had dissapeared into her purse, just as he heard the quiet scrape of an expensive shoe on the tiled roof behind him. "Wich one are you going to pull first Detective? The badge, or the gun?"
Everything seemed to happen at once. Spirit felt like his skin had been electrified, every nerve in his body tuned to the max, he fell into the Flow and his reactions took over. To him it looked like the world moved in slow motion. He saw the look of surprise cross over the womans cute features, her hand hesitate in the bag. He let his yellow and black runners bag fall from his grasp. He spun around and took a half step towards the bartender coming up behind him, a pistol locked in a two handed weaver stance. His mind noted the way sunlight sparkled off the gold badge hanging from a silver ball chain from the mans neck. His left hand came up, under the gun, clasping the mans wrist as Jack sidestepped still moving forward and gaining speed. He forced the mans gun hand upwards, then latched his right hand onto the mans wrist beside the first. He forced the mans arm upwards and over backwards, not allowing his arm to rotate as he leaned forward and redirected his own momentum and the momentum the walking man had downwards, using the mans gun arm as a lever of sorts, forcing the man to topple backwards or suffer a severely dislocated shoulder. The man flipped over backwards in a half flip and landed on his stomach. Spirit struck the man in the temple with a short right jab then plucked the gun from the mans limp grasp and rolled spinning as he did ending in a crouch facing the woman, the bar mans gun centered on her chest. She froze, her own gun was only half out of her purse. He registered a brief look of fear in her eyes. Time returned to normal. The yellow and black bag hit the ground.
"Don't." Spirit said, his voice as cold as he could force it to be, a one word warning. "Drop the purse, and step away from it." He enforced his command by cocking back the hammer on the pistol.
She let the gun fall back into the purse, leaned down and placed it on the ground then took three steps to the right. "Assaulting an officer is a serious crime. Give me the gun and maybe we'll say Perkins slipped on some water from the pool." She tried.
Spirit wasn't buying. "Somehow, I doubt Perkins is going to see it that way when he wakes up with a sore shoulder and a headache. Turn around and walk towards the pool." As she did so Spirit heard the far off whisper of rotor blades cutting the air.
"What happens now? You going to shoot me?" She asked.
"I'd rather not. Don't much care for guns, and if I'd had a mother I'm sure she would have taught me not to shoot women."
"Going to cuff me then?"
Spirit smiled thinly. "Not on the first date."
"You're pretty funny for a guy who is about to get a one way trip down town. You hear that 'copter. You can't run forever." She growled trying to sound angry. Spirit heard the fear beneath the anger.
"I don't have to run forever detective. I just have to run longer than you can." Spirt said as he stepped forward behind her and shoved her into the pool. As she came up sputtering and cursing Spirit ejected the magazine from the pistol and dropped it at his feet. After wracking the slide to eject the chambered round he tossed the pistol into the water beside the Detective. "Take care of yourself lady, blonde hair, green coat." Spirit said with a slight smile as he turned and lept over the hand rails surrounding the roofs edge conscious of the noise of rotor blades growing quite loud.
As he landed on the angled side of the building Spirit looked up just long enough to see the black police chopper with its flashing blue lights crest the roof he had just leaped from and dive in his direction like a hawk after a rabbit. He noticed the side doors were open and a uniformed SWAT officer was leaning out, held firmly in place by a safety harness. He also noticed a shape in the mans hands that looked far too similar to a rifle. Spirit registered all of this in the back of his mind. He looked down and calculated the distance to the edge, the width and breadth of the balconies starting at the tenth floor. He judged his speed, and realized he was sliding far too fast. His momentum was going to carry him off the roof, out over the balconies!
Jack put his palms down on the smooth mirrored glass of the slope sliding on the all-grip surface of his gloves and drove the noslip soles of his shoes downward scrabbling for purchase and trying to slow his momentum. Dimly Jack noticed the friction heat building in his palms through the gloves, and the screech of his grips over the mirrored surface rose even over the rush of wind in his ears and the helicopters steady chop chop. Then he felt no more resistance beneath him as he rocketed off the edge of the roof. Jack rolled over in the air and flailed with his arms, stretching, reaching out and downward, an image of the street rushing up to meet him filling his mind, and a whispered prayer on his lips. He felt his left hand slap the handrail of the topmost balcony and curled his fist around it, his knuckles going white inside his gloves, he tried to imagine his fingertips merging with the palm of his hands, straining every muscle in his arm, concentrating only on maintaining his grip.
He bit back a yell when his arm pulled tight as his body weight and momentum was abruptly halted and redirected. It felt as if his arm were being torn off at the shoulder, but Spirit caught himself and swung downwards guided by the handrail, smashing his ribs into the bottom of the balcony with a grunt, he let go and dropped down to the balcony bellow the first he'd grabbed. He went limp while in the air and tried to roll with the impact as he landed on a table, splintering it sending white shards of plastic and glass in all directions and scattering the expensive looking outdoor chairs all over the balcony. Spirit forced himself to his feet one hand pressed to his ribs probing with his fingertips and grimacing. They were bruised, but didn't feel broken. He spared a glance towards the chopper, wich had descended to his level and turned sideways giving the police sniper a near perfect shot from only sixty feet away. The birds speaker crackled to life as a man yelled "DO NOT RUN!". This was emphasised further by a single shot from the sniper, shattering the glass door behind Spirit.
Jack took a deep breath. You up for this Spirit? He thought to himself as he rubbed his ribs. No time, he told himself. Run now. Hurt later. He ducked through the shattered door with the speed of a sprinter off the starting blocks, arms in tight, head down, center of gravity forwards, trying to compact himself and make a smaller target, he dashed across the room, sprang over the oversized bed and drove his shoulder into the door just as he heard the sharp crack of the snipers high calliber rifle. The door splintered at the lock and came open, Spirit fell forward through it, he felt the snipers bullet pass less than inches from his side, the heat and wind of its passage ruffling his fleece jacket. He rolled, away from the door and dashed up the corridor just as the comm crackled back to life in his ear.
"Spirit what the hell!? Sorry kid, nothing about that on the wire." Mercs voice had that calm, hyper competent tone it always had when the heat was on. It helped calm Jack.
"Get me outta here Merc. I'm pulling the fire alarm, hopefully the chaos will slow the blues down." Spirit said as he jogged over to a glass covered button on the wall. As he smashed the glass with his elbow he took in the hotel map above the button.
"Blues are covering the stairs at the lobby, a trio of SWAT are coming up to you, they're a floor bellow and moving fast. Best exit is the parking garage next door, four stories, long jump. East side of the building, bail out from one of the balconies on the sixth floor." Merc spoke rapid fire into the comm.
By the time Merc had finished his directions spirit had slapped the button and was sprinting up the hallway towards the stairwell.
"Blues approaching your level Spirit. Remember what I taught you."
Spirit cut the corner towards the stairwell and accelerated to his full speed. Every step brought forth a knife in his side over his ribs, but he pushed the pain to the back of his mind and used it to fuel more adrenaline into his system. He met the team of blues at the top of the stairs. They were proceding upwards single file, each in full body black clad armor, all three carrying laser sighted sub machine guns. The first to the top of the stairs was in the process of bringing his SMG up and yelling "STOP!" as Spirit ducked low and slid, slamming his right heel into the mans knee. The cop grunted as the knee hyper-extended and refused to take his weight. As the blue was toppling forward Spirit gathered his feet under him and shoved at the cops shoulders with both arms, leaning into the push with all of his weight and momentum. The man was shoved backwards into his comrades and the three man team tumbled backwards down the stairs in a tangle of arms and legs. Spirit lept over the railing landing on the next flight of stairs down, then did so again to clear himself of their line of fire, then darted down the stairwell to the sixth floor.
As he dodged through the rapidly filling hallway of hotel guests Jack heard Merc yelling over the comm but couldn't make out what the older runner was saying over the din of paniced yelling, and chaos in the hall. He ducked around a fat lady wearing a bath robe, and bumped into her husband, and middle aged man with salt and pepper hair drawing a "HEY!" before the man was lost in the crowd. A man exited a room just ahead of him, trying to tie his shoes and run at the same time and Jack quickly caught the door before it could close and relock itself and slipped unnoticed into the room. As the door shut the shouts outside dimmed to be bearable.
"Repeat your last Merc!?" Spirit yelled into the comm.
"The blues have lost you for the moment, but it won't take long for that chopper to pick you up again once you're outside. Krieg just picked up Faith at the subway over on 19th street, I'm sending them your way. The only safe place for a pick up is in the tunnel over on Jamison Ave. That's a block north, you know the overpass kid?"
"Yeah, I'll be there." Jack said as he walked across the room and opened the glass door. Getting REALLY tired of these damned balconies he thought to himself as he walked back to the door and took a sprinters starting stance bracing his right heel against the door ready to use it to push off.
"That overpass is gonna be a bitch to get on kid. It's fifteen feet up, and I'm not seeing anything to climb. Better find some wings."
"Just make sure I've got a ride waiting Merc." Spirit said. He hesitated for a second, holding his breath, steadying himself, then pushed off the wall and charged at the open door and the balcony on the other side of it. He jumped when he reached the glass door, his right foot landing atop the hand rail of the balcony, his entire body coiling like a spring, then he launched himself forward. Spirit tucked his legs up into his chest, cannonballing for distance, and for a brief moment everything seemed to stop and he felt as if he were hanging motionless in the air. Then the laws of physics reasserted themselves and he was in freefall, clearing the concrete barrier of the parking garage a story down by serveral feet, he hit the pavement and rolled, silently thanking his luck that he'd landed in an empty parking spot. He rolled to his feet and sprinted to the edge of the rooftop scanning the street for a way down.
Spirit heard the helos blades drawing nearer as he climbed out onto the edge of the concrete barrier surounding the top level of the parking garage. He caught a brief glimpse of the birds dark nose and flashing blue lights emerging from behind the Windgate as he dangled down from the edge by his fingertips, then released and caught the next barrier ten foot bellow, droping out of the helicopters sight. He released again, landing atop the following barrier, balanced on just his toes, before springing into a twisted backflip that left him facing away from the garage as he hit the ground.
"They've made you again Spirit. Chopper's inbound, and you've got serveral blue crews approaching by car. Get to that overpass!" Merc barked into the comm.
Spirit turned north and took off like a shot, his feet pounding on the pavement, he darted under the incoming hellicopter, aware as its pilot banked and brought the bird into an abrupt turn and swooped down upon him, again giving chase. Jack blew by front entrance to the Windgate, avoiding the pedestrians who were gathered out front, screaming at the emergency vehicles, firetrucks, and police cars who had responded to his run and the fire alarm. He could hear sirens, not far away and growing louder, their howls cutting through the afternoon air like the howl of wolves on the hunt, and he was all to aware of the ruby red beam of light stabbing down at the pavement near his feet, coming from the black clad SWAT member leaning out of the helicopters side door. Jack felt it cross over his back and abruptly dodged to his right, leaping onto the hood of a stopped police car, then springing up and over a group of startled fire fighters, landing softly on the back of their truck, he dashed to the rear of the vehicle and sprang down to the pavement again, continuing to duck and dodge, trying to present as difficult a target as possible, his shoulderblades tingled as though they could already feel the bullet that would strike between them.
The sirens grew louder as Jack vaulted off a bench on the sidewalk, landing atop a six foot wall surounding a gated community, sprinting a few steps on the narrow surface, then dropping down into the expensive developements parking lot. He could see the overpass, and the tunnel waiting atop it, serveral hundred feet away. His heart hammered in his chest as his mind raced, his eyes scanned looking for a way up. He sprang to the hood of a parked car, then used it's roof to vault over the wall yet again, and heard the sharp crack of a rifle followed by the sound of glass shattering as the round hit the windshield of the car he had just used as a springboard a split second before.
Spirit rolled as he hit the ground, keeping most of his momentum and saw a police car sliding to a stop in front of him from the next intersection, a mere seventy-five feet from the overpass. He was out of time. His adrenaline redlined, the world again seemed to slow to a crawl around him while his thoughts raced through his head quicksilver fast. He jumped and slid across the hood of the police car, pausing just long enough to kick the passenger door closed on the blue trying to vacate that side of the car, then dashed towards the overpass, ducking through traffic amidst blaring horns and curses. Fifty feet. Spirit saw an oncoming sedan lock it's brakes and spin sideways to a stop fourty feet ahead of him, just shy of the overpass. Thirty feet. An eighteen wheeler came around the corner ahead, smoke bellowing from its rear tires as breaks screamed. Twenty feet. Spirit heard the crack of the rifle again, the bullet passing close enough to his ear for it to warm his face in passing. Ten feet. Spirit vaulted onto the hood of the car, in the back of his mind he registered the police choppers speaker again yelling "DO NOT RUN!". Three steps across the hood, still moving at a dead run Spirit lept again. His right foot came down on the hood of the out of control big rig. He pushed off again, gaining the roof of the cab, landing on his left foot. He heard the trucks airhorn scream as he pushed off with his left foot spring up the last two feet to the trailer and sprinting ahead again, reaching inwards for the resevers all runners found in times of adrenaline laden flight. He sprinted down the length of the still moving trailer and lept again, his toes nearly hanging from its edge. He soared upwards, driving his sneakers and their noslip soles up the wall of the overpass, he heard an earthmoving crash as the eighteen wheeler colided with the car he had used as a springboard. Then he stretched upward, reaching out, and catching the guardrail atop of the overpass with the fingertips of his right hand. Spirit hung by one arm for a moment, then shoved himself upward, his left arm coming up and finding grip near his right. The snipers rifle spoke again, the round sparking from the guardrail between his hands. Spirit hauled himself up and over the guardrail, rolling over it, and forcing himself onto his feet and made a last frantic run into the tunnel.
One hundred feet away Kriegs beige sedan sat pulled off to the right lane, hazard lights blinking as if it were broken down, the hood up and the large runner leaned over the engine. Spirit could make out Faiths dark hair in the passenger seat as she glanced out the rear window at him, then spoke around the raised hood to Krieg. Krieg slammed the hood and slid back into the car, the powerful engine roared to life. Faith reached back and opened the back door of the car just as Spirit reached it and all but fell into the cars interior. He sat there, behind Faith, willing his heart to slow, his hands to stop shaking, and his breathing to return to normal, as Krieg merged the sedan into traffic, the simple car camoflauging itself perfectly with the rest of the five o'clock rush. He heard Krig speaking to Merc on the comm telling him it was over, that he was safe.
Spirit turned his hat around to the front again and looked up, noticing that Faith was turned around in her seat studying him. He met her gaze evenly.
"Helluva day huh?" he said and smiled weakly.
Faith leaned back in her seat and hugged him tightly, as Krieg reached back and clapped him on the shoulder. "Yeah, we heard the shots. Are you ok?" Faith replied.
"I've seen better days Faith, but I've survived worse ones too." Spirit said returning the embrace, and noticing that Faiths back and hair were drenched with sweat. "I hear you had quite a day yourself?"
Faith nodded in reply, then kissed his cheek and turned around looking out the windshield. "I don't know what has the blues so triggerhappy today, but I'm betting it means trouble for us." She said.
The comm crackled in Spirits ear as Merc said "Hey Spirit, you caught your breath yet?" his voice sounding distant and muted because of the tunnel they passed through.
"Yeah Merc, I'm ok. I'll fill you in on things when I get back to the lair. I'm taking twenty for a break. And I want a raise!" Spirit said with a half smile as he switched his comm off and reached for his notebook.
"Hey Spirit?" Kriegs deep voice said from the driver seat.
Jack looked up and met Kriegs eyes in the rear view mirror, his hand still resting on the zipper of his jacket. "Yeah?"
"What do you get out of writting in that notebook anyway?"......