The job was finally coming to an end. Dom frantically studied the piece of paper in front of him, trying hard to commit every last detail to memory. The paper contained a complicated diagram with specs for a new processing chip that stood to make millions, perhaps even billions, for its unlucky inventor. The inventor knew the stakes involved in creating such a product which is why no one aside from the patent clerk with which the specs were filed knew anything of the invention. However, what the poor, unlucky inventor didn't know was that the patent clerk had been accepting bribes for year from the powerful GGDM corporation in exchange for information about any new computer-related technologies. GGDM took one look at the preliminary patent information filed with the clerk and knew that such a processing chip would revolutionize the personal computer industry. The corporation simply would not allow that revolution to come from any company other than GGDM and thus Dom and his team were hired to steal the specs from the inventor so that GGDM could scoop him and be the first to mass produce the technology.

Just as Dom was about replace the specs in the vault hidden away in the inventor's mind, the paper fell from his hands and Dom slumped to the floor, knocked off his feet by the room seemingly turning 90 degrees on its axis due to a sudden shift in gravity. "Damnit Yusuf," thought Dom "why can't you drive like a normal citizen for once instead of a NASCAR racer at the Grand Prix?" Just as Dom started to climb to his feet, a second shift in gravity caused Cobb to slide across the floor, down the wall, and onto...the ceiling? Or should Dom think of the ceiling as the floor now since gravity now held him to the ceiling, just as he had been pinned to the floor only moments earlier? For at least the fifth time since the job began, Cobb found himself wondering what was going on above the surface in reality that continued to cause this dream world to be so unstable. As Cobb contemplated this for a moment, he suddenly heard the muffled sound of the warning music that meant the kick was only minutes away.

"Shit," muttered Yusuf as the driver's side window shattered, a bullet whizzing by his head so closely that he could feel the heat caused by the friction of the bullet shooting out of the gun barrel at one hundred miles per hour. He swerved into the next lane, narrowly missing sideswiping a pickup truck. Yusuf stepped even harder on the gas, the gears of the eighteen passenger van grinding in protest at the sudden acceleration. He quickly reached over to a small remote lying on the center console, pressing a button to cue up the mp3 player connected to the headphones placed over Dom's ears. The kick couldn't come a moment too soon. Moments later, the dark SUV holding the mobsters that had been chasing Yusuf for the last hour zipped into the far left lane and passed the van. Yusuf and Cobb's team had come to the mob's attention after the mob boss had tried to hire them to extract the secret location of the Triad's stash of black tar heroin with a street value of nearly 50 million dollars. While Dom was the first to admit that the team's activities were not "strictly speaking legal," he did have a conscience and while most of their jobs fell in a morally grey area, Dom knew this job was wrong, plain and simple. He'd politely declined the job, saying that the team had retired from the dream business and wouldn't be able to help. Frankie, the mob boss, was not used to being told no and was determined to find the Triad's stash, one way or another. He knew that Dom Cobb had some friends in high places, namely Saito, and so he decided not to order a hit on Cobb's team, worried that doing so would draw unwanted attention to his organization's burgeoning drug trade. Instead, Frankie had sent several of his low level goons after Cobb's team with instructions for them to dig up some dirt on the team members that he could use to blackmail the team into taking his job. Frankie had been surprised and infuriated when one of his goons had called to tell him that despite Cobb's supposed retirement, his team had reunited and was currently driving down the 109 in a van in broad daylight while hooked up to a PASIV. Clearly, Cobb had been lying when he said they were out of dream business despite the generous compensation Frankie had offered them. Frankie's blood had boiled with rage at this news and so he immediately gave the orders for his goons to run them off the road, making sure that it looked like an accident or a random road rage killing.

Yusuf jumped as a semi-automatic rifle was thrust out of the back window of the SUV and several shots hit the front windshield of the van. Yusuf turned his head to see the windshield crack and shatter, one bullet lodging in the dash and another one piercing the passenger side seat where luckily, no one was sitting. Before the mobster could line up another shot with his rifle-powered scope and take aim at the van yet again, Yusuf slammed on the brakes and swerved across two lanes to a nearby exit, earning a number of screeching brakes and honked horns from cars all around him, but thankfully no collisions. Even better, the dark SUV several car lengths ahead of Yusuf had no time to exit and a tall center median and side rails prevented the mobsters from following them onto the access road. Yusuf exhaled a breath he did know he had been holding for the last hour and pumped his fist in the air triumphantly. He turned to Cobb and the team for acknowledgment of his quick thinking evasive maneuvers only to be met with silence from the sleeping team. Yusuf marveled at the peaceful faces that were oblivious to the tense hour that had just unfolded. He shook his head at Arthur and Ariadne's sweet faces, both of them looking like mere teenagers in sleep.

Yusuf was quickly brought back to reality by a sharp beeping from the PASIV device. Only 90 seconds remained until the dream would start to collapse and yet Yusuf had almost forgotten about the kick. It would take him nearly five minutes to get back onto the highway and arrive at the bridge where he'd planned the freefall kick. How could he drop the whole team at once without a bridge? Yusuf glanced ahead at the access road where two of the three lanes were blocked off due to the construction of an elevated ramp meant to connect to the highway. The ramp had not yet been connected with the highway but instead stopped abruptly about 50 feet off the ground. Yusuf knew it was dangerous to have the van fall to the harsh, unforgiving pavement below rather than landing in the river with the water absorbing most of the impact, but desperate times called for desperate measures. Yusuf glanced back once more, ensuring that all his team members were strapped in securely before revving the engine and shooting forward ignoring the construction - do not enter barricade. He quickly gained speed as he accelerated through the barricade up the ramp, closing his eyes seconds before the van came to the end of the ramp, shooting into the air and seeming to hang there for several minutes before the van came hurtling to the ground with the force of the impact sending the front wheels of the van flying off as the van skidded to a stop.

How's that for a cliffhanger? This first chapter is mostly exposition to make the rest of the story make sense but the juicy stuff is coming up next. Chapter 2 is already uploaded. Please review! Reviews tell me that the story is worth continuing.