October 2027

A hand hovered over the keypad, finger less than quarter of an inch away from pressing the button. He did intend to quell the alarm. Give the stranger a chance, if not out of decency then for his own amusement at least. He'd been keeping an eye on the footage, as he always did. You could never trust soldiers and being in a confined space with them made him irritable.

The footage from the camera provided no sound at all. Just a preternatural silence while the scene played out in devastatingly, deadly detail. The men were thrown around as if they weighed nothing. It was with a macabre fascination and maybe a little awe, that he watched the violence unfold.

But an interesting idea occurred to him, and instead, folded his fingers away from the keypad and watched as more soldiers arrived. Appraising the man in the middle of the grey hurricane of soldiers, a plan began to form.

Even with his apparent skill and training, no man could take on that many soldiers at once and not remain unscathed. Eventually he went down, but not after an impressive display of power that ended in a few soldier's rather nauseating end, their blood splashed across the metal containers like an artist had morbidly painted their deaths in some red flecked abstract.

As the stranger's limp form was carried away, he reached up to touch his InfoLink, realizing this was the first and likely only opportunity that would present itself. At least then he could get out of the greasy workshop. If the remarkable stranger could remain alive long enough...

_/_I_/_

When Adam opened his eyes, everything was a mess of hard angles and sharp light, glaring and indistinct. Blinking away the cloying opaqueness, he clicked back his eye shields and sucked in air. The cold tickled along the back of his throat, sinking right into whatever marrow was left of his bones and he shivered.

A bright blue light washed over him and he watched as numbers lit up the inside of the pod. For a few moments he watched in fascination as white circles flashed around in a continued sphere. Shaking himself slightly, Adam tilted his head and frowned. The sharp cold was a nice counterpoint to the disorientation tainting his mind like a poisonous mist. Even his augmentations felt stiff, though that wasn't really possible.

Something had woken him...

When he heard the muffled voices outside, an icy splash of danger washed over him. He strained to hear what they were saying. Gritted his teeth when nothing but low tones permeated the pod.

Adam felt a surreal sense of dislocation, like he was floating in a mechanical womb. And maybe that was fate's cruel twist of irony. Birthed from flesh, re-made from machine.

The pod beeped twice, two very sharp alerts that had Adam stilling instantly, inner musings immediately forgotten. His lip peeled back in displeasure, the effect of the pod's cold on his mind falling away like last autumn's leaves.

The indistinct murmur of voices ceased and Adam swore quietly. Unease slowly started to unfurl, tangling like vines around him as Adam realized the possibly dangerous consequences of his rather impulsive action back in Hengsha.

Without warning, the lid of the cargo pod was pulled back. Adam stared into the face of a Belltower soldier. The sudden adrenaline peeled away the inner static of his mind, sharpening his senses until nothing remained but instinct.

Even as the Belltower soldier's shock was draining away, Adam wasted no time reacting. Launching himself from the pod, Adam hissed as the left side of his ribs protested painfully. His sudden plummet from Administrator Wang's office had caused some damage. It concerned him. He may not have organic ribs anymore but they could still be damaged.

But even as those thoughts occurred to him, Adam let the pain become a stimulant and in it he found the momentum to move forward. Grabbing the guy by the front of his shirt, he dragged the soldier off his feet and slammed him into the side of the container. The back of the soldier's skull struck the metal and tinged like a fleshy wind chime.

"Oh fuck."

Adam whipped his head to the right and saw another Belltower soldier's panicked expression as he backpaddled, turned and slapped his hand on the nearest alarm before Adam could react. A loud wail began immediately and Adam grimaced. Oh fuck indeed.

The Belltower soldier fumbled the clip on his gun holster. Adam turned and engaged his Reflex Booster, felt the world shrink down into the tiny space. Felt the slight tingling as the disc implants in his spinal column fired up nerve clusters and he ran across the room with inhuman speed. Containers blurring in the edge of his vision, he reached the soldier just as he flipped open the strap on his gun holster. Grabbing his arm, Adam twisted and felt bone crack and the soldier howled in pain.

Sensing movement above him, Adam looked up and saw a Belltower soldier sight his rifle on him while two others jumped down from a container. Adam grabbed the still howling soldier and threw him up and into the soldier above him just as he discharged his weapon. Adam had just enough time to watch the soldier he'd thrown crash into his buddy in a sickening collision of bone of flesh, before he was jerked to the side as the lucky shot hit him in the upper arm.

He sucked in a breath as pain impacted across his polycarbonate implants and he stumbled to the side. With some undignified back peddling he managed to stay upright, acutely aware of the danger he was in if he went down. Ignoring the echo of pain, Adam put his hand out, steadied himself against the side of a container and used it as momentum to launch to the side as the Belltower soldiers opened fire on him.

Bullets pinged loudly against the containers, following his progression. He rolled, came up quickly and engaged his blade. Heard the click of an empty magazine from the nearest soldier. Launching himself from his position, Adam took two quick steps towards the soldier and drew back his arm. Instead of withdrawing and letting his companion fire upon Adam, effectively ending the encounter, the soldier made a fatal mistake; he panicked. Stood in the way. In such small confines, his companion had precious little space to manoeuver around and sight Adam.

Scrambling to eject and find another mag while an augmented opponent stalked him wasn't the brightest move. Adam's nano-blade slid through the soldier's stomach with ease. Withdrawing the blade, he pushed the soldier's body towards his companion who was still trying, unsuccessfully, to move around to sight his rifle on Adam. The body clipped him and he stumbled, the muzzle spitting bullets harmlessly in an arc away from Adam as the soldier lost his balance, finger caught on the trigger guard.

To Adam's surprise, the soldier kept hold of the rifle as his back impacted the container. Adam quickly surged forward and instead of trying to shoot him, the soldier reversed the rifle and made an awkward jab at his head. Swiping away the clumsy attempt, Adam punched the soldier in the head. He slumped to the ground just as Adam heard a sound behind him.

Turning, he watched a grenade roll towards him. He sucked air in between his teeth in annoyance and felt the firing of his limbs as he tried to escape, even knowing it'd be futile. But instead of a thunderous detonation, he heard the buzzing as the EMP exploded. It crackled ineffectively as the armor matrix in his augments dissipated the electrical damage the grenade would have caused without his shielding.

Even as relief slithered through him, a bright light blinded Adam, seconds before a wave of pressure assaulted him. Momentarily stunned, Adam was flung off his feet. The world titled madly, like he was inside a crashing tidal wave. For a few seconds he felt like he was upside down in a roaring squall, cocooned in a never-ending storm, before his back impacted something hard. Adam felt his lungs squeeze painfully. Agony erupted down his spine as he was thrown into a container so forcefully, he felt the metal screeching as it gave way under his weight.

With no way to stop himself, Adam slid to the floor and grunted as his injured side hit the ground. Reacting more than thinking, Adam pulled himself up on to his knees. Pain slashed like a hot knife through him, dimming his vision and causing his breath to be sucked in. He was distantly aware of more soldiers moving towards him but his vision was still blurry and his body just wouldn't co-operate with the signals his brain was sending.

It wasn't the first time he'd been hit with a P.E.P.S laser pulse. The exploding plasma and electromagnetic radiation was excruciating.

His vision cleared just in time to watch a Belltower soldier rear back and kick him in his already injured ribs. The pain seemed to flow through his body and explode behind his eyes like a white fireworks display. Rearing back to kick him again, Adam allowed the fury and pain to mesh into one sinuous entity which let him whip out his augmented hand, grab the soldier's ankle and twist mercilessly. The solider screamed in agony and fell.

Ignoring the red icons flashing from his Sentinel implant, Adam rose stiffly. He groaned inwardly, calculating the odds of winning, injured, against five Belltower soldiers. Adam engaged his blade, bared his teeth and surged towards all five of them, not sure the pain and agitation was enough of a lethal combination to take them out.

His reactions were sluggish, the lingering result of the laser making the nerve impulses slow to trigger. Adam stepped inside the swing of a blow, grabbed the soldier, spun and threw him over his hip where he crashed with a similar impact into the same container Adam did, forcing the dent even further into the metal. Ducking and weaving, Adam saw an opening and surged forward, his blade slid through the closest soldier's chest.

With no warning, he felt pain in his lower back and his body seized up with rolling unbearable pain. Adam's teeth clamped shut so tight his jaw ached. He managed to turn around, just in time to watch the soldier squeeze off another taser round. The nose of the projectile's four sharpened electrodes pierced the layer of Kevlar across his stomach and sunk into the skin beneath. Thousands of volts coursed through his body, creating neuromuscular incapacitation. His body convulsed painfully and Adam dropped to the floor.

As his vision shuttered in and out, a Belltower soldier loomed over him, anger pulling his mouth up into an ugly sneer. He could only watch, unable to move, as the soldier dropped down and grabbed the front of his armor. With an anticipatory grin, he drew back and punched Adam in the face. He only needed to endure two more hits before his vision mercifully washed out.

Note:

I recently replayed 'The Missing Link' and wanted to write a one shot to fill in the blanks (in my own head at least) of how Adam might have been captured. Never Forget is the achievement trophy you get when you find Adam's pod Forward Cargo Hold on Hei Zhen Zhu.

This one shot is the first time I've written anything in well over 18 months. Thought I might dip my toes back into the writing pool with a one shot so I can then, at the very least, get back to finishing my Proteus story...