Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer

Levon leaned against the shower tube, letting the jets of water assail his body from all sides. As the sweat of the previous night’s activities rinsed away, the more subtle indicators of his exertions seeped in. Both his head and kidneys ached from the soup of chemicals he’d drank, sniffed and injected with the woman now sleeping naked in the next room.

Warnings pulsing dimly in his periphery reminded him that his kidney augments were still on standby, sifting and analyzing the foreign bodies in his bloodstream. An amber warning flashed, the proximity alarm on his equipment locker had been triggered. His company was awake, the message flashing red as she tried the door.

Levon flipped through and discarded most of the blood-work findings; street grade meth, cocaine and a too high level of alcohol, but the last one stopped him cold. A battery of tranquilizers had been automatically disarmed, all bearing Federated P.D. chem tags.

“Shit. She’s a cop.”

In an instant water droplets were evaporating in a jet of warm air and kidney grafts went into overdrive, flushing his system clean and pumping in Epinephrine.

Exiting the shower he could hear the woman padding around the bedroom, his sub-dermal grid-work of sensory pickups and Faraday shielding twinging as a transmitter narrow-banded a short range encoded transmission. Not only was she a cop, but she had a partner nearby.

Opening the door he found her perched on the end of the bed, tanned shoulders and arms exposed above the bedsheet she’d drawn around herself.

“Hey baby, look at you,” her words slurred together into a sound like a sneeze.

“Hey,” Levon moved to the closet, the auto-bolts retracting as he reached for the handle, “back in a sec.” He slipped through the door, closing and letting it lock securely behind him.

He’d converted the walk-in to a safe room when he’d started renting the sixth floor apartment. The low level lighting reflected dimly back at him from the kevmesh that coated the inside of the cramped space, uneven thicknesses of the dark green ultraweeve armor pooled on the floor where it had run as he’d sprayed the layers on.

He could feel a mass of people thundering up the stairwell at the end of the hall.

He pulled on overalls and a jacket and jammed his feet into a pair of Magnum Ions. Overturning a crate in the middle of the room he slung his shoulder holster and perched in a squat on the box like a bird, face down to his knees. He thumbed the release tabs on two canisters glued into the floor on either side of him and covered his face with his hands. The canisters ticked a few seconds before geysering upwards, thick jets of liquid spattering off the ceiling, foaming and filling the space, securing his hunched form in a bubble of packing foam.

He felt his cocoon shake, knowing that his bathroom had just been blown out the side of the building. A second set of explosions tipped his pod sideways, and Levon braced himself as a final eruption jettisoned the entire closet shell out the newly formed hole in the building, launching it through the window of the much nicer lofts across the street.

Levon had barely stopped moving before he blew the cocoon seals and stood up, the force separating the two halves neatly, leaving a man shaped impression in each.

Stepping through the broken glass and window frame, he surveyed the damage outside, his apartment now just a jagged tear in the brick facade of the building. Below, his shower poked out the side of a cargo van, vaguely phallic in a glittering mess of LED advertising and shredded metal.

Turning, Levon faced a startled couple sitting up in bed. Stepping past them, he helped himself to a piece of toast and a slice of bacon from the breakfast tray forgotten at their feet.

“Don’t get up,” he grinned, “I’ll see myself out.”

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