He's burning.

At least, that's how it feels. Temperature receptors in his augs have shut off, pushed beyond their regular parameters and sliding towards a shutdown, but his skin. Fuck, it's like someone's holding hot coals mere inches from every part of his organic body and no amount of flinching or recoiling seems to make an iota of difference.


Koller wasn't lying. He never should have activated all those augs.

Red static flashes over his vision again accompanied by a stab of pain behind the eyes, and Jensen stumbles and clutches at the wall fortunately just within reach. His fingers are twitching, nodes misfiring, too much current forced through resistant wires, and he can't grip anything firmly enough to keep from crumpling to his knees.

Breathing has started to become uncomfortable. Perhaps he's drowning instead.

"K-Koller?" Static in his ears. Might be the infolink. Might just be the circuits in his brain starting to melt down.

Fuck fuck no shit fuck

"Koller? I...I need..."

"Jensen?" The reply is there, but the voice is tinny and distorted. "Shit, man. What happened?"

He can't answer. A sudden prickle in his chest cuts off all attempts at speech as his rebreather flares to life with a roar, too loud, too powerful, sucking air violently into protesting lungs.

The pressure regulator must have burnt out. Jensen clenches his jaw and feels a sharpness drag like razors down the back of his throat. Enough, I need to breathe out…

He can't. Carbon black fingers claw at his chest and he can't tell the drumming of his heart from the random firing of impulses in his augs.

Stop, fuck…

He's spared his lungs bursting by the sudden click and pop as the rebreather abruptly dies, heat flaring painfully through his chest while a bitter, acrid taste blooms at the back of his mouth. Expelling the breath does little to ease the pain. Jensen realises he can't draw another one.

Koller might be yelling at him. He's not sure. All the noises in his head sound vaguely like screaming heard from somewhere underwater.

A dozen would-be error messages blare across his HUD with panicked urgency yet fail to render as anything more than distorted glyphs. The next burst of static descends like an avalanche to sweep them away and his vision cuts to black.