A Useful Trinket

Author : Z.D. Erickson

Boyd pressed himself tightly to the crumbling brick of the library’s colonnade. As the thin layer of scaled fiber-optics bent the light of distant streetlamps around him, his mind raced.

There’s an old thieves adage; The theft itself is rarely difficult. It’s getting away with the merchandise that becomes problematic. He had always found this to be eerily true, until now.

Bypassing the lab’s security protocols had taken almost a year of research and planning. Not to mention the money he’d had to shell out to that pissant Timothy Marcus. The boy’s ability to infiltrate complex computer systems was near-legendary, and unfortunately he knew it. Just the thought of that smug, pimply grin set Boyd’s blood to boil(was I ever that pompous, even at fourteen?), but he couldn’t question the little snot’s efficacy. When the time had come, it had been as simple as snatching a fresh-baked pie from a midsummer’s windowsill.

And now, even with a fleet of helicopters circling the campus like hungry buzzards and facing a small army of ground troops armed to the teeth, the ease of his escape made Boyd laugh silently to himself. His new prize truly was worth every penny he would get for it.

When William Garner had first brought him the job, he’d laughed in his face.

“They’re willing to pay almost fifty mil for an enhancement suit? They must be off their respective rockers Bill.”

“It’s not just any old enhancement suit my good man(Bill’s was a true rags-to-riches story, and now that he’d started making some real bread he’d wrapped himself in this insipid, forties era nouveau-riche persona. Phrases like “my good man”, “I do so detest…”, and “those poor, underprivileged wretches” were now all too common.), from what I could figure out it’s the be-all-and-end-all of current military technology. It not only monitors all vital functions, it stores a plethora of synthetic hormones, designer neurotransmitters, and recuperative enzymes. They’re released into the bloodstream in response to tissue damage, alterations in CNS activity, or on direct command. It also renders the wearer resistant to extremes of temperature. It has a mixed gas delivery system that allows one to function under assault from aerosolized bio-weaponry, or even underwater. It’s lightweight, but bulletproof, and has joint actuators that increase the wearer’s speed, strength and maneuverability tenfold. And, get this old chap, it has a fiber-optic skin that makes it almost completely invisible under normal conditions. At worst it will keep you up and running under brutal conditions. At best…you’ll be unstoppable! And it’s under development in a biotechnology lab at MIT, so security won’t be as bad as all that.”

And so here he was, suited and booted, and everything Bill had said was true. Boyd didn’t know if the adrenaline rush he was feeling was from the thrill of the chase, or as a result of the suit’s enhancement mechanisms, but he had never felt more powerful in his life.

He might decide to keep this prize after all.

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