by Mars Anthony
The story of a super enhanced hero in a city filled with superhuman threats.
I'm sixty-four stories above New York City, Midtown Manhattan; perched far above the clamor and noise. From where I'm seated, I can scarcely hear the congested metropolis far below me. If necessary I could block it out completely, or listen to any number of conversations taking place on the sidewalk and crowded streets. But, none of the people down there interest me...not tonight anyway.
My quarry isn't among the common folk on the street, there's nothing common about him. Francisco Delgado, or The Lancer as he prefers, isn't what I; or anyone else for that matter, would call normal. He's a cleaner, a professional assassin, a double threat really if you factor in his hobby as a global terrorist. He's good too, very good, maybe the best in the business, and I should know...I once held the title.
My name is Matthew Trent, but my clients call me, Infinity. For some, I'm a life insurance policy; for others, protection; and for an elite few, I'm the last line of defense against psychopaths like Delgado.
The roof of the building I'm positioned on places me ten stories above and directly across from the Imperial Corporation Building, Imperial Towers. The company's main headquarters, Imperial Towers is the ninth tallest structure in Manhattan and the main office of the third largest energy conglomerate in the world. Imperial controls four of the seven powerstats circling the earth. The satellites, designed to beam solar energy down to antenna relays around the world supply 80% of all global energy and power. Word is, the Lancer will try to assassinate Imperial's CEO David Randolph Dean, my latest benefactor. Over the past several months three executives have died mysteriously. Although no one can link them to Delgado, each death appeared to be commonplace; a heart attack, a car accident, a drowning; all in that order. Thing was, each of these men were scheduled to appear at the GES (Global Energy Summit), being held here in New York in three days. All of which, including Dean, were said to be announcing their companies recommendation for the use of an alternative fuel source that would do away with the need for fossil fuels. With the introduction of the powerstats over ten years ago, some major energy companies were put out of business to the tune of two hundred billion dollars annually. Needless to say, there are those that resolutely opposed what those men; and Dean, stood for.
Scanning the area for any movement along the rooftops, I patch into one of the global governments surveillance satellites via the nano-machines coursing through my veins. The microscopic devices saturating my blood keeping me alive, among other things. In conjunction with my cybernetic extremities they amplify my reflexes while augmenting my strength and agility. The machines also gather outside data and stimuli in relation to my present surroundings by connecting with other electronic devices and downloading critical info directly into my brain.
At this moment, I'm looking at an aerial map from a GDA (Global Defense Agency) surveillance satellite orbiting over New York. My bird's eye view specifically focused on structures in the vicinity of the Imperial Building. The visuals, received as a steady stream of...memory flashes, flood my brain. These Images are viewed from various angles at various speeds with a simple thought transmitted to the little guys; that's how I refer to them, the machines inside me, they're the lil'guys.
Within minutes I'm tracking a dark figure moving across a building about two hundred and fifty yards away. The adult male isn't striding at abnormal speeds, but, he ain't exactly crawling either. Zooming in, I see he's carrying a high-tech version of a Dragunov, a Russian sniper riffle, along with two handguns tucked away into holsters on each hip. Clad in a red, gray and light gray hooded camouflage bodysuit, he's packing an impressive array of miniature devices attached to hooks and latches on a black bulletproof vest.
Looks like the Lancer is dressed t'dance tonight, I think to myself standing, allowing the lil'guys time to sever their link from the surveillance satellite.
Over 78% of my body is made up of synthetic cyber-tissue, muscle and neuro-fibers. Together with the nano-machines they make me a sight to behold when I'm in motion, graceful to say the least. With speed and agility I want try to explain, I'm foxtrot'n along the ledge of the building like a gazelle. My mind is clear and my breath steady as I feel the guys warming up in my veins. We're both excited to be moving, bored with just sitting around for hours in anticipation.
Reaching the end of the building, I hurl myself into the air high above the city below; into a world of intense light caged within the dark shadows of a Manhattan skyline. Instinctively I make minor adjustments with my body as a flood of information is subconsciously pumped into my brain and calculated beyond my ability to reason.
My target, a smaller corporate building running parallel to the building I leapt from is about forty-five feet away, give or take. Hitting the roof of the smaller building I tuck and roll springing to my feet. Instantly I'm sprinting; leaping air ducts, piping and air-conditioning units as I make my way to the other side.
Lancer, now four buildings away, is about one hundred and sixty yards directly across from me. My problem is a direct route would take me downward and cost me precious time I'm not willing to spend. Circling around behind him, leaping onto bronzed gargoyles, from stone ledges and flag poles I reach the building Lancer has just chosen to setup his kill shot.
Tentatively I approach from behind him just a mere twenty feet away. I'm silent, unwilling to give up the element of surprise just yet. A minor shift in his body position tells me he knows I'm here, but he's playing it cool, not tipping his hand as he stretches out on his stomach peering through the high powered scope attached to his weapon.
"Hell'uva place to be bird watching at this time of night, buddy," I say, seeing no reason to be coy at this point.
"Oh, vey surprised you'd be, at what one can view from here my friend," Delgado says reminiscent of Yoda, with a Cuban accent.
"You don't say? Hey, you know; I'm a watcher too. I get paid t'watch all sorts of things."
"I see my friend, please tell yes," Lancer inquires while placing his rifle on the roof and standing slowly. "What things tonight do you watch?"
Dusting himself off, Lancer cracks his neck and knuckles before facing me; setting his stance from across the roof.
"I don't know...take that building you were just looking at for instance? From up here I could watch the back of that executive on the fifty-second floor. You know, the one sitting in that soft black leather chair at his desk inside the large corner office."
"Maybe you can watch out for him, or maybe not my friend. We only know for sure...if he lives, yes?"
Seemingly without warning Lancer draws both weapons from his side and lets lose in my direction. Before his guns ever clear their holster I'm moving toward cover behind several metal air units to my right. Diving, I also reach into one of the three small pouches I carry belted around my waist. Somersaulting, I hear the pinging of rounds hitting the back of the units as I vault and land behind them.
The weapons Lancer uses have muted discharge, eerily firing without any sound whatsoever. Together with the random thumping of bullets against metal they help to conceal his precise location as he moves towards me spitting shells.
"Come out, come out, wherever you are," Delgado says in a cocky over enthusiastic tone.
I can almost see him smiling beneath his mask as I dart out from behind cover. Moving at half speed, which from his perspective looks as if I'm hauling ass, he turns slightly to track me.
"Time t'die my..." he begins to spout off.
The explosion of miniature flash-bang grenades catches him flat footed as the roof lights up like the Fourth of July. Stunned, blind and disoriented, he fires sporadically as he backs away. Rushing toward him, hearing bullets whiz by my head as the lil'guys calculate the angle of the projectiles keeping me out of harms way, I seizing one of Delgado's wrist before pounding a right hook into his stomach. The attack causing him to drop both guns and expel air.
Surprisingly, the man doesn't go down completely as he staggers away; throwing me off balance reaching for me. Duly impressed and puzzled, I'm caught with a kick to the chest on his way down. Somersaulting backwards, absorbing the force of the kick I put some space between us.
Kneeling, gasping for air, I watch him struggle to recover as I move toward him. His handguns tossed to either end of the building and rifle out of reach, he assumes a Broken Lotus fighting stance, slowly.
"You're tougher than you look, I'll give you that," I say circling him.
"Who...areyou...myfriend," he says trying to regain his composure.
"That's not important. The question is; are you going t'give up or do I get t'find out why the hell you ain't laying flat on your ass right now? It's your call...but, I am hoping you feed my curiosity."
Lancer obliges me, not that I'm surprised. Weaving and stepping away from his jab followed by a roundhouse, as he initiates his attack, I decide to take the measure of the man. His Kung-Fu is superb as he connects with a brutal series of jabs, strikes and kicks that set me back on my heels. Given a fair fight, I'd have little hope of ever beating him, although...I never did fight fair.
Like a well rehearsed dance the lil'guys and I block and ward off every strike that follows as if Lancer is moving in slow motion; cause basically he is as far as we're concerned. Slipping away and toward him with ease, I riddle him with body blows pulling most of my punches as it dawns on me he's wearing body-armor beneath his costume. Fully satisfied he's still human, I opt to end our farce, unwilling to take the life of another human being.
Delgado eyes grow wide as I simply seize his wrist for the second time. Letting the lil'guys take over, they hit him with five shots; two to the face and three to the body, in no particular order mind you. Turning, walking away, I allow him to wilt from his feet to his knees like a dying flower.
Warning me the guys let me hear a NYPD radio dispatcher reporting an explosion atop a building somewhere in Midtown Manhattan. Leaving Delgado unconscious, bound and unmasked I light a signal flare beside him. Darting across the roof, I leap once more into the darkness above the city as police helicopters approach in the distance.