How long can the human organism survive without air? He has no clue. Doesn’t matter. He takes a risk and makes one long leap diagonally down, covering seven steps. Unable to stop he slams into one of the floor’s solid oak doors but has no time to poke his head in and apologize. Later. Three figures in the hallway are turning in his direction but by this time he is already attacking the next flight of stairs, recklessly. No time to be lost, X7 must not die if he brakes something then so be it; he can patch up later.
The steps blur into abstract concrete disturbance patterns under his sneakers in mid-flight. His body seems like an inappropriate, regrettably organic mechanism compared to the speed at which he should be moving. If only he could for once do things the way they should be done then perhaps he could move towards the future without always having to look back over his shoulder, trying to see what the fuck went wrong.
Then it’s the last set of stairs, down into the dim light of the maintenance area. Damn! A boxy shape is moving in Bentivoglio’s direction or actually, no, the other way round. He has to change the direction of his jump at the last moment so he won’t straight smash into… Faulkner. Maneuvering up the steps, moving his bulk as cool as ice.
Bentivoglio flies past him, a few more steps and lands on the ground floor, going down into a crouch as far as he can to absorb the impact. He can’t stop for the new colleague either but yells towards him with his head turned as he runs down the corridor.
-An emergency at the Circuit, Faulk. They can’t get the subject out those idiots. Gotta go!
As he races down the glum redness of the corridor, Bentivoglio just about wants to punch himself in the head when he remembers that he left the SIGG in his drawer. So how did he think he was going to help? Shit, he really isn’t an emergency kind of guy, lacks that clarity in times of extreme duress. Now what? He looks around, scanning the sparse corridor for any kind of object that might be used for blunt impact work.
He frantically rubs his chin with both hands. It had been the same thing with his parents, hadn’t it? The one time they really needed him all Bentivoglio had found himself capable of doing is staring on, helplessly, paralyzed… But…No, not this time.
There’s an arm-thick vertical drainpipe making the awful noises of drainage, of feces on its first lag of the journey oceanwards. He steps around it in one swift motion and voila: there in the wall is a recess for emergency purpose, framed in red wood. Inside it gleams the blade and handle of a serious duty fire-ax.
– Thank you! That’s exactly it.
Bentivoglio shakes his right fist as though he just won a very tough athletic competiton. He steps forward, takes off his grey dress jacket and wraps it around his elbow. Then he takes a deep breather and rams the protected elbow through the glass, which by blind luck shatters without cutting him up. The next day the guys in charge of security, who were nowhere to be found when it mattered will be smart asses about how easily Bentivoglio could have opened the box without the risk of bleeding to death. And Bentivoglio will wish he would have held onto that axe a bit longer.
A few moments later he shoulders his way through the double doors into the curved area of the Circuit, along which he runs all out, like U.B. in a suit, armed with a war-axe. This is the most intimate Bentivoglio has ever felt with the limits of his own body, while his legs stomp away like alien pistons, eating up the distance still to be covered. A good hundred meters up ahead of him, he sees two figures in white, making a coordinated, rhythmic, futile movement against the glass wall. The loud bangs can be heard clearly, despite the screeching alarm that is going off but to which nobody else seems to be responding.
Abusing his aching muscles, Bentivoglio accelerates even some more, finally arriving where two medical personnel are attempting to shatter the glass with an undefined, long metal object that is clearly not designed for the purpose. They stop and both masks turn in his direction, expressionless twin wraiths.
– What the fuck are you doing here? You are way out of your own department comrade. Better you get back to where you belong.
– Go to hell. Both of you. This subject here is about to kick it ‘cause you incompetents are not doing your job. Now just step out of my way.
Which he says lifting the sharp end of his implement threateningly. It’s hard to get enough air through the biofibromatic material, very hard, it takes all of Bentivoglio’s concentration not to panic and rip the damn thing off. Then he swings he heaves the hatchet far to the left side of his body and, in one swift horizontal motion, brings it crashing along the glass. Actio equals reactio makes Bentivoglio’s arms and upper body feel like they’ve just fragmented into a million, fine fragements while the section of the glass shows only a small fracture.
-Not going to work. Why don’t you get back to your office and let us…
Baaaahm! The axe-head slams into the glass for the second time. The fractures widen in a fractal, concentric pattern, which looks like a spider spinning her web inversely. Beyond reach, X7 is going into seizures that make him thrash in the mud uncontrollably, fighting that last enemy with all his unconscious energies. The guy in the wheel-chair is back by the wall, motionless, staring, maybe seeing his real wish, the one he has never told anybody, coming to fruition or realizing that there is nothing cold about revenge after all.