There was no explanation for what it was that was happening right now. The interior lights were dimming, flaring up in orange circuitry and blacking out in random patterns. Jensen felt the entire vehicle shudder and sputter like a human being suffering a particularly nasty brain freeze. Electronic shrieks flooded the small area, accompanied by the manic beeps that practically screamed that something was very, very wrong. It was then that Adam felt one of the most sickening feelings a man can feel when travelling a few thousand feet above the ground. The feeling of falling.
Compartments spilled their contents around in the cabin as if in zero-g. The flashing lights illuminated the room in a blinding yellow before briefly dying in the frightening blackness that only contained the manic, electric screeching. Suddenly the door was sliced open, air hissing into the cabin violently like a fist to Jensen's mouth. He looked out, seeing buildings pass him with unthinkable speed, there was nothing constant about his world now except for the floor, the black shapes stationed in the whirlwind outside were only a fraction more terrifying than the sick sensation of being suspended in mid-air, upside down. With his augmented hands holding onto floor with his legs suspended in the air whilst the VTOL spinned sideways in a downwards spiral, Adam considered the options he had. The first was to do nothing, the second was to jump and let go. On one hand, jumping out and activating the Icarus system held the highest chance of survival, provided he could properly activate it in a figurative tornado. On the other hand, Malik had no such augmentation and was sitting in the cockpit, if the VTOL were to continue spinning sideways, her chances are better but not by much. The ground was steadily filling in, its brown texture overtaking the black rectangles. He would have to decide now.
Instinctively, he did. Letting go, the scream of the wind tossed him out of the VTOL and into the hard, rectangular world. Gritting his teeth, feeling only the nauseating sensation of weightlessness and hearing the flapping sound of his coat and the background noise of the wind rushing past his ears, he willed himself into a straight position, facing the ground and seeing the nearest rooftop rising to meet him, the instincts of his biological and augmented body parts fused together and reached the consensus of activating his landing system. Slowing down enough to only smash down upon the concrete with enough force to dent it and leave him breathless and dazed, Jensen heard the accompanying sound of Malik crash-landing somewhere else. Adam crawled towards the edge as his body raced to catch up with him. He saw the shape of the VTOL bent and twisted in a fiery pit in a construction yard. Its normally proud and modern visage violated and thrown into the dirt set something foul alight within Jensen.
"Malik, do you copy?"
Her voice sounded panicked and hoarse and Jensen could instinctively imagine her face.
"It's shot to hell, I need time to fix it, I need time, I-"
The sound of bullets beating upon her hull slapped Jensen's head in the direction of 10 armed men, collectively firing upon his pilot.
"Go Jensen! Get out of here!"
"Negative, continue with the repairs. I'll deal with this."
"Damn it Jensen! There's not enough time! If you don't go now, we're both dead!"
"For us to be dead, there's going to have to be someone out there who can kill us, in a few minutes, there won't be."
Letting gravity pull him down, Jensen landed in a cloud of dust, breaking into a sprint towards the half-finished structures where snipers were covering the heavies. Leaping up into the second story, the explosion of surprise on the face of the armed man was not enough to conjure up enough sympathy in Jensen for him to spare his life. Pulling out his Diamondback, he shot the sniper fast enough to grab his rifle before he hit the ground, normally he would feel some sadness at the sudden demise of the man, but not right now. Right now there was a life in danger which he was more than willing to sacrifice ten for. Picking off the remaining snipers, the soldiers below must've picked him up, as they stopped firing consecutively against the broken VTOL. Several lighter troopers spread out in search for him whilst the heavies reloaded their LMG's. The sudden relative silence was interrupted by Malik's voice, dry and overworked.
"Jensen… Adam. You there?"
"I'm here Malik, I'll be with you soon, I just have to clear out these punks. How are you holding up?"
"I-I don't really know. My hands are shaking, I don't know if I've been hit or it's just the impact that hurts and I- can't think straight but need to repair and-"
"Easy Mal'. You still have to take me to a fancy restaurant, remember?"
"Shit Adam, I can't- Maybe I'm going to die right here and you're joking about that night on the roof. Fuck I wish I was there right now- I can't…"
Jensen coldly sank his nanofiber blades into the backs of two unsuspecting Belltower choking sank into the back of Adam's mind as he was only concentrating on the sound of Faridah's voice.
"Just stay down, I'm almost done out here." He said as the wet blades were sucked back into his arms. Taking cover behind a concrete pillar, spying only two remaining heavies. Yanking a pin with his teeth, he threw the grenade with calculated ease. After the explosion subsided, he purposefully walked up to the two bodies and put a bullet in both of them for good measure.
"Done." He whispered over the radio waves.
"D-done? Doesn't feel done spy boy." A coughing laugh followed.
Jensen felt what hairs that were left on the back of his neck rise as he heard the tell-tale sound of a boxguard being dropped from the sky. Breaking into a sprint, he vaulted over a concrete slab and huddled behind it as the metal box punched into the ground, the vibration rattling his augmentations.
"Shit, what was that?"
"Fuck, Jensen. Seriously."
"Why the hell… Are you so calm?"
"I've been saving an EMP grenade for one of these cans."
Without even looking at the mechanical brute, the grenade found itself under the rigid construction. The metal nails against the digital chalkboard was painful even for Jensen, the explosion afterwards however, was ice on the wound.
Faridah jolted awake in her own sweat and blood as she heard pounding on the hull of her mechanical cell. The smell of ozone and fumes reminded her of the predicament she had encountered. Commanding her digits to move, she inhaled sharply as she unbuckled herself. Breathing heavily and gulping down whatever oxygen was left inside the hole she was trapped inside, she was slumped against the wall of the VTOL, her head smearing sweat against the cold steel. Her eyes were heavy and her body exhausted. She had accepted she was going to die trapped right where she was the most free. Down in the dirt instead of amongst the stars, it wasn't the way she wanted it but it got points of being poetic. Poetic like that night in Sarif's office with Jensen… she chose to remember his face against the backdrop of the black-gold city of Detroit as her final thoughts. Funnily enough, the gold-black was replaced by that white light everyone talks about, but Jensen was still there. Strange…
Air. Texture. Figure. All these things were switched on like a lightbulb in an ancient, black tomb. Her legs were being dragged across the earthy ground, and a fire was waving at her in the distance. Adam's face was suddenly above her, his sunglasses gone.
"Faridah?!" Her body was shook as his eyes were opened wider than she'd ever seen.
"Talk to me!"
Merely blinking for a few seconds, she finally spoke.
"H-Hey. Spy-boy…" She lifted her hand to dreamily hold one side of Adam's face. Her lopsided smile dispelled the horror of blood and grime on her normally pristine face. The fire crackled, Hengsha mumbled off in the distance and the wind combed through the small construction site as if brushing the ruffled fur of a frightened dog. For being such a large and overpopulated city, it was unnaturally quiet. She thought she heard a cat scamper off nearby…
"You have a concussion."
"The one on my face."
Faridah gave him a playful smirk with her hooded eyes pulling out her trump cards.
"Just making sure I didn't die and go to heaven, 'cause you'd probably be there if paradise is all it's cracked up to be."
Jensen's eyebrows shot up.
"Your concussion must be… Serious..."
"Can't be a concussion if it was there before the crash now can it?"
"You should probably lay down." Adam made a move to lay her down. Malik's other hand was suddenly planted on his chest with hard determination.
"I don't need to lay down Adam and you know it." The silence of the city invaded the abyss between their faces again.
"I'm not very good at this." Adam didn't meet her gaze.
"You don't need to be." She assured him.
"You be my bodyguard and I be your pilot. We can start with that, can't we?" Her hopeful voice coaxed Jensen's face to meet hers once more.
The flame and the streets melded into a curtain that enveloped the strange pair on the ground.
"You sure about this?"
"Surer than my pilot license." The grin made her feel lightheaded, it probably would even if she wasn't concussed.
"It's just that-"
At that point she slapped his face and connected hers to his in a desperate and overly dramatic fashion. The kiss tasted of sweat, plastic and blood and sweet, sweet victory. Jensen's rigidness subsided after approximately 2 seconds. Afterwards, the silence of the city descended upon them and swooned into an orchestra of carbon dioxide, car horns, crowds and club-techno whilst the VTOL slowly roasted in the background of Malik and Jensen's conjoined silhouettes, their featureless shapes unmoving for as long as they wanted.