002. Augmented & Fighting in Slow-Motion

The tendons of Kerr’s fingers tightened. Hands tightened into fists. They felt heavy—ready to bludgeon.

His weight shifted forward. He was ready to launch forward. His legs were springs screaming for release.

The suit performed a rapid emergency system check, flashing words too quick to read on Kerr’s LENS. One by one, his muscles tensed and relaxed. Calves. Quads. Biceps. Back. Shoulders. Stomach. Chest. Each burned with potential energy.

Kerr’s nostrils constricted and his lips pressed together. Thousands of microscopic oxites tumbled into his bloodstream. Kerr no longer felt the need to breathe.

Drugs began to trickle into his brain. Endorphins began to fire. Switches began to flip. He felt good. He felt unstoppable.

Kerr’s universe exploded.

Time stopped as a flurry of activity hijacked his mind.

Everything was brighter. Crisper. Louder.

Kerr could almost taste every passing moment. It was time to move, Move, MOVE!

Braun held a frozen smile, teeth parted. He was saying something, but Kerr couldn’t wait.

His peripheral vision absorbed the position of everything around him. They surrounded him. Braun ahead. Blanc right. Neither with gun drawn.

His real problem was Murphy and Johansson. Both had their guns trained on him. Johansson almost had a look of glee on his face. He seemed eager to get off a few shots.

These were trained soldiers. His movements would bring an instant response. Even with time “stopped” he could attack one, but not both.

He could do a lot of damage wearing the suit, but he wasn’t a soldier. The suit was bulletproof, but bullets would still knock him around. How long until somebody got a headshot?

Enough thought, it was time to act.

Kerr launched toward Braun in a blur of motion. He grabbed Braun by the shoulders and spun him around to be a shield. His trained soldiers held their fire. They ran toward him in slow-motion.

Kerr’s kicked up with his knee, burying deep in Braun’s stomach.

Another message from the suit flashed on his LENS.

INCOMING...

Kerr’s eyes widened. A dark shape was coming from the right. It was Hendrikson. He rocketed toward Kerr with a combat knife in his hands. He was fast! Everyone appeared to be moving through water, but not Hendrikson.

Kerr realized with horror that he was up against an enhanced soldier.

Kerr fell sideways, repositioning Braun before Hendrikson slammed into him. The knife swung wide, trying to strike behind the colonel. Kerr continued to roll, pulling both Braun and now Hendrikson with him. As he landed, he planted both feet on Braun and kicked.

Thank you, judo lessons!

His legs fired like pistons, launching Braun and Hendrikson into the air.

Kerr planted his palms and pushed off. Twisting like a cat, he landed ready for his next maneuver.

The suit augmented his movements. That wasn’t one of his judo lessons.

Johansson rolled onto the ground, getting into a better firing position. Murphy was lifting his gun to get a lock. Major Blanc pivoting her gun.

Kerr smiled. He wouldn’t be in the same place by the time they could fire.

Braun and Hendrikson tumbled through the air. Hendrikson wasn’t wasting the motion. Using Braun, he swung around to face Kerr. His mouth curled in a dark smile. The knife was gone. A gun was in its’ place. Kerr locked eyes with him. Hendrikson winked and squeezed the trigger. The gun erupted flames.

He watched as a bullet drilled through the air.

Without realizing what was happening, he had done a small forward roll. Three bullets hit the ground where he had been moments before. He twisted, getting his legs under him.

Using the ground as a springboard, he launched himself forward in a run. He spotted his silver briefcase out of the corner of his eye. He scooped it up as he ran.

Another short burst of bullets belched behind him. Kerr risked a look back as he ran. Colonel Braun crumpled against a concrete pillar.

Hendrikson hit the pillar with both feet, bent his legs, and pushed away like a coiled snake. He hit the ground running. His gun continued to erupt fire.

Johansson and Blanc began firing their weapons but they were firing at the spot where Kerr had been. Now he was a running machine. An inferno of energy coursed through his legs.

Clouds of dust surrounded him as bullets chewed up the floor. He kept his head low. He could feel bullets impacting back and legs, but he ignored the pressure.

He dodged right, rounding a concrete pillar, and kept running. For a split second, the bullets no longer found him.

He had gained and lost the element of surprise. A team of trained soldiers were pursuing him. It was laughable to think he could escape. What was his end game?

Kerr dashed left and right. Bullets shadowed his every step.

He ducked behind another pillar but the bullets kept coming. Hendrikson was now running parallel to Kerr.

He dove into another forward roll. As he moved, he twisted his body to face the opposite direction. His feet braced, stopping his forward momentum. His hands launched him off the ground and he pulled himself forward like a monkey—feet over hands. Springing up, he was running again.

Hendrikson cursed as he stopped his sprint and changed direction, tripping and skidding.

Tears streamed from Kerr’s squinting eyes as he flew forward. His path was taking him toward the other soldiers. He ducked into a skid and shifted directions again. Ahead of him, Kerr could see a light—the light of the Portal.

He ran toward the light.

The ground around him came to life again. A flurry of pebbles and dust shadowed his every move. A shot struck the back of Kerr’s leg with enough force to make him miss a step. He stumbled forward, almost falling. The suit righted his steps before the final tumble, letting him race ahead once more.

The Portal was now in full sight.

There was nothing but white light through the Portal. Kerr skidded to a halt. It was no longer connected to the Time Dock. Who knew where it would lead?

The bullets behind him ceased. Hendrikson had him trapped.

“Game’s over, hero,” he chuckled. His gun smoked. It was no longer pointed at Kerr. There was no point, “There was nowhere to go, anyway. The only way you’re getting a cure for that virus is going back home. It’s either ‘join us’ or die.” He shrugged. “Your choice”

Only three steps.

That was the distance between Kerr and the Portal. Inside the opening was nothingness—swirling white lights and squirming fog. No one knew what it was like. No one had ever returned.

Kerr began running.

One foot down. One foot up.

“Stop!” yelled Henderikson.

Kerr ignored him. One foot down. One foot up. He grimaced. Last foot down. Last foot up.

Kerr plunged into the Portal and the whiteness swallowed him whole.


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