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Loverboy: A short story.
~5000 words

Heya folks. I've been away from the game a while and will continue to be absent until about mid April provided my current deployment goes to plan.

Even away from the game however I am still a Sindome fan and the game, it's setting, and it's community do occupy a special place in my heart. As such I decided to write a short story in Sindomes setting. I haven't written prose in a while so this may not be top notch material, but I hope you all can enjoy it nonetheless. There are some time leaps back and forth to facilitate the story I wanted to tell, so do let me know if you have trouble following as a result or any other thoughts you care to share. I have also taken some liberties with locations and tech for the sake of the story. Hope you don't mind.

--- Start of story ---

She squeezed his hand, the warmth of her palm seeming to flood his entire body in that single touch, a protective charm against the frigid rain pattering down the back of his neck. Somewhere in the distance thunder rumbled, the sound almost indiscernible from the heavy rumbles of levs sweeping through tubes overhead and the many wheeled trucks clattering through the streets below. In spite of it's grey, drab intensity the rain seemed to soften the mix, muting its usual commotion of sounds with white noise and making the normally obnoxious flashing HoloAds and neons twinkle almost sweetly as the couple simply enjoyed one another's company atop their chosen rooftop.

They were an unlikely couple and an accidental pairing. She had been highborn and influential, an elite member of Saedor Krupp's corporate security force when they had met. He on the other hand had been born to the streets. Every possession Ryan owned he had fought tooth and nail for and any salaried job he worked lasted only as long as was convenient to him or the boss he worked for. His true employment lay in the shady underbelly of Withmores business dealings; the investigations, sabotage and assassinations that no respectable corporate employee would admit so many of their transactions hinged on. In this respect both Ryan and Leona were professionals, and it was through this professional relationship their private relationship had blossomed. Each contract had bought them closer, every risk taken and every dirty secret exposed building on their trust in one another.

For the longest time neither Ryan nor Leona had admitted what they had might have become a romance, preferring to think of it as an indulging of one another's pleasures and trying their best to ignore how deep the trust they had placed in one another ran. It was only when life forced the reality of their situation on them that they were made to acknowledge how close they had become. Leona had never blamed Ryan for the fall and for that he was eternally grateful. He could never understand how she could be so blasé about losing so much but all she ever said is that she'd known the risks of what she was doing and she refused to blame others for actions she had chosen to undertake.

Ryan cupped Leona's cheek in his palm, his tan skin seeming pale by comparison to the rich ebony of hers. He traced his thumb down the gold marked skin of her jawline, a sumptuous tattoo from her more affluent days. She smiled.

"This will be the last job... There's no need to look upset." She said, her tone warm, and consoling, again seeming to repel the cold of the rain by its very existence.

Ryan opened his mouth to object but she cut him off with a finger to his lips, her other hand lacing itself through his long blonde hair.

"I'll be back so-"

Something being strapped to the left hand side of Ryan's face jolted him from his reverie and back to the present.

"Wake up loverboy. You've got a job to do."

Ryan's blue eyes struggled to focus through an optical lens that had been affixed to him by virtue of a clasp on his left ear and an elasticated headband. The SHI logo spun lazily in the centre of the lens before it blinked and began to give a display information on the target building, a blueprint of Saedor Krupp Tower.

"Drop is in two minutes." An officious flight operator intoned from behind the visor of his olive drab helmet, holding up two fingers close to Ryan's face and speaking loudly to be heard over the skull shaking thrum of high velocity aerodyne jets.

A month had passed, then another before Ryan had broken his promise to Leona and started investigating her whereabouts. It took a week more before an anonymous gridmail had appeared in his inbox promising Ryan a lead if he could make a meeting at the NeoTrans Transit Lounge. He'd almost turned around when he had walked into the plushly furnished meeting room and two ViriiSoma Corporate Security personnel had greeted him. It was the photo that had stopped him. There she was displayed in crisp definition on their quickterm. His Leona with two men in hoods, each with a hand on her shoulders, guiding her into the back of a black sedan on some Mix backstreet. He'd closed the door, and sat down opposite the pair.

"It was only a matter of time before Krupp decided that having one of their old guard loose on the streets of the mix was a liability." One of the two agents had explained, a tall brown haired man with broad shoulders, his eyes hidden behind dark glasses. Shades, Ryan would call him. The other agent was a short, athletic looking woman, red hair pulled back into a tight ponytail. Her green eyes stayed fixed on Ryan with steely intensity, her crimson painted lips pursed and hands clasped together on the table. Ryan averted his gaze from her. She was evidently bad cop and, if the cold behind her stare was anything to go by, she was very good at being bad.

"This footage reached us just over a month and a half ago. There's no date stamp, so odds are it's a little older than that... our intelligence suggests you might be interested in retrieving Miss Leona Onai from her captivity." Shades continued, his tone dry.

"So you thought you'd reach out and tell me where she was out of the goodness of your heart?" Ryan replied in dry humour, motioning with a hand to speed up. "Cut to the chase and tell me what you want from this."

Shades coughed into a closed fist, saying. "We'd like to debrief Leona once you extract her. Nothing like a disgruntled ex-security chief to reveal critical information."

"Annnnnd there's the matter of this individual." The redhead interjected, pinching the image on their quickterm to zoom into an element of it. What Ryan was being shown was part of the picture he had first seen, bought into closer focus so a detail could be picked out. Reflected in the wing mirror of the dark sedan Leona had been guided into was a heavy set, dark haired man with a full but carefully groomed beard. He kept both hands on the steering wheel even as he watched his passenger being loaded and the cut of his suit suggested seniority amongst the party. "Anthony Weber. Leona's replacement as Krupps Chief of Security... We'd like you to deal with him. There is a substantial bonus for doing so."

"Annnd by deal you mean?..." Ryan queried, letting his brows knit together as he posed a question he already knew the answer to, fingers tapping on the table for emphasis. The redhead gave Ryan a flat stare, not bothering to humour the unnecessary question with it's obvious answer.

"We can drop you in and show you where you need to go, but that is the extent of what we can do whilst maintaining deniability. You'll extract through the subterranean car park to meet an unmarked vehicle outside." Shades began, using the same matter of fact tone he had been using throughout the meeting. "You have three days to consider our offer before our window of opportunity closes. We can be reached at the same gridmail we contacted you at. A simple yes or no will suffice."

Ryan did his due diligence before taking up Viriisoma's offer. He'd trawled the mix for the street corner Leona had been picked up on and reviewed the security footage himself then he'd paid through the nose on a goto for Anthony Weber, verifying his identity before considering any alternative options. No alternatives presented themselves and time was scarce. Now he found himself strapped into the back of an unmarked aerodyne destined to infiltrate a corporate fortress.

"Drop in one minute. Final checks." The flight operator droned, roughly pulling at the straps securing a tactical paraglider to Ryan's back until they were tight enough to pinch Ryan's shabby navy blue hoodie. Ryan tied back his plentiful blonde hair with a rubber band then checked his meagre excuse for kit. Crowbar, in it's sling. External optical lens, fixed to his ear. Knailz, Ryan flexed his fingers letting the metal razors concealed between his nails glint fleetingly, still there. ICEpick? Ryan double checked a button down pocket in his black du-wear cargo pants finding a small, heavy little box secured inside. The Viriisoma technician who had handed it to him had assured him that if Ryan could install it correctly ViriiSoma could temporarily tap into the electronic security on Saedor Krupp's tower.

"30 seconds." A side door opened on the aerodyne and suddenly the thrum of the vector jets became a shrill, all consuming scream accompanied by buffeting winds and glimpses of skyscrapers lit against Withmore's night sky. The overhead harness keeping Ryan in his seat released itself and the flight operator yanked Ryan to his feet, positioning him in front of the yawning chasm in the side of the aerodyne. Dizzying heights whipped by below Ryan, the darkness doing little to hide just how far away the ground was with the wind threatening to pull Ryan from the side of the fast moving aerodyne. One could almost smell the concrete poisoning waiting to happen. "Fall five seconds, then pull the chute." Instructed the flight operator. "Drop is in ten."

From there the operator started a countdown but the sound was lost in Ryan's flurry of thought, his finger clasping desperately to the biting cold of the metal airframe as he stared into the darkness below. The aerodyne lurched to a stop and with it Ryan was dimly aware the countdown had also ceased. The word jump fixed in Ryan's mind, his legs tensed and sprang before time froze as he leapt into the void, his foot catching on a loose ratchet strap. For a second Ryan seemed to hang in the dark between the lights of skyscrapers and aerodynes before inertia gripped his stomach and he plummeted, tumbling towards the ground below.

The previously all consuming shriek of aerodyne engines evaporated inside of a second as Ryan fell, replaced by the howling of wind from below. The elastic band pinged from Ryan's hair only to quickly disappear off above his falling form and leave his hair streaming past his face. "Damnit!" Ryan realised he must have spun round during his fall and now was facing skyward instead of towards his destination. He jerked his body to orientate himself into the direction of his fall, splaying his arms and legs out to slow himself before it occurred to Ryan "How long had he been falling?" The bright red flash of warning lights intended to repel aerodynes began to spread themselves out below, framing the darkness of Saedor Krupp's rapidly approaching rooftop like a maw threatening to swallow Ryan whole. He pulled his chute.

The straps of Ryan's paraglider hit him like a punch to the chest and he felt the wind being knocked out of him. All in the same moment he seemed to crash into the concrete of Saedor Krupp's landing pad, his speed just barely slowed by the deployment of his chute. Pain flared through Ryan and he permitted himself some time to heave on the ground as he processed the sensation before reluctantly pushing to his feet, clutching his side.

"Ah you're alive." Said an unimpressed sounding woman's voice in Ryan's left ear. "For a moment there I thought we'd paid hundreds of thousands to leave Saedor Krupp Chinese takeout on their rooftop." Red hair and crimson lips flashed in Ryan's memory as he realised this was the female agent he had met when first being briefed by Viriisoma.

"It would have been nice to know I had company on the ground ahead of time." Ryan wheezed, his hand still clutching his side as he struggled for breath, still doubled over at the waist. The voice gave him no indication she had heard him.

"The rooftop access should be to your direct left, but you'll want to access the wiring hub first. If you can install the ICEpick we gave you we should be able to manipulate Krupp's security systems... at least until their deckers catch wind of what's going on." The voice intoned nonchalantly.

"Where, pray tell, do I find this wiring hub?" Ryan grunted out, finally pushing through the pain to stand up straight, ready to walk.

"Right of the door, a grey box secured to the wall. Standard meter key access but your crowbar should do in a pinch." She informed him.

"So you can hear me." Ryan replied. No answer.

Ryan limped towards the door, doing his best to ignore the daggers of white hot pain shooting into his right hip with each step. His fingers found the buckles of the paraglider and started to undo them before he reconsidered. He'd been informed when it was handed to him that the paraglider was disposable, it could be left on the rooftop as unnecessary for the rest of the mission. Those were the words of a corpie. Ryan was no corpie. A parachute would be damn useful some other time and 30 seconds was little to ask versus the expense paying for one of these out of pocket. He stuffed the material of the paraglider back into place and pinned it shut, donning the numerous clasps required to wear it once more as he made for the slate grey box of the wiring hub.

For a short while Ryan was gifted blissful silence as he pried the heavy, blunt metal of his crowbar into the wiring hub and wrenched it open to reveal a mess of colourful cables and sockets inside. He fumbled with the buttons on his du-wear cargo pants to open a trouser leg pocket and pull out his digital ICEpick. Two conveniently colour coded cables dangled from the device, each capped in a slim jack cable clearly designed to fit in the matching coloured sockets on the wiring hub. He slipped each jack into it's corresponding socket, rested the device against the frame of the hub, and waited a few seconds. Discrete red semicircles of light blinked in sequence on the case of the device before turning a solid green to form a wireless signal icon. Moments later the clunk of magnetic locks being released and an eerie squeak of poorly maintained hinges squeaking could be heard from the rooftop access door as it opened to permit Ryan access. "Viriisoma's deckers don't mess around." Ryan thought as he stepped into the dimly lit service stairs beyond the door. "But neither do Saedor Krupp's." He reminded himself, pushing himself to treat the situation with urgency. Viriisoma's access to the security systems could be revoked at any moment and the moment they were, his rescue effort would be compromised.

"Leona is being held -here-, three floors down from where you are now. You're looking for cell 7A." The redhead instructed in Ryan's earpiece, a blueprint on his optical display highlighting a room three floors down from the roof in glowing orange. A red trail lit up offering up the most direct route to the destination, straight down the stairwell then along a corridor. The room would be on the right. "Get your hood up, and do not be seen. There is nothing we can do if a foot patrol sees you." Ryan didn't need telling twice, slipping his hood over his blonde hair to the point it obscured his face then descending carefully down the stairs.

Ryan kept low, ready to duck back into cover the moment a potential threat revealed itself. He flexed the fingers on his right hand once more to unsheath the razor sharp blades of his knailz from their hiding place just in case as he paced pantherlike through the dark. One floor, two floors, two and a half floors, then sudden light shone across the stairwell and Ryan froze. For a moment a figure was silhouetted in the doorway entering the stairwell then once again the spiral of steps was plunged into darkness.

Ryan stayed frozen in place, near certain he had been seen. It seemed impossible he hadn't, exposed halfway down the stairs as he was. Then the spark of an emerald flarelighter illuminated the face of a man in the darkness, a cigarette pinched between thin lips. A curse was muttered as the flame died out before the cigarette could be lit, then a second spark flickered on the landing, this time forming an emerald green flame that just barely lit the security guard's face as it ignited the end of his cigarette and left it burning cherry red. Ryan held his breath. Somehow he had not been seen, but now he had this oblivious corporate security agent between him and the woman he loved. He crept low towards the guiding light of the cigarette in the darkness, the pain in his hip throbbing mutedly with the slow movements. Each step was taken with infinite care and to Ryan even his pulse seemed loud enough to betray him in the darkness. He neared the man who had become an obstacle in Ryan's effort to rescue his beloved. This needed to be a clean kill.

When Ryan moved it was sudden and swift, a flurry of movement irreconcilably at odds with the slow and carefully executed movements Ryan had been making moments before. He lashed out with his knailz, aiming for a spot just beyond the burning rosebud of the agents cigarette as he tried to catch the man unawares. Ryan's knailz dashed against the mans skull and suddenly the terrified whites of the guards eyes could be seen in the dark. A pained yelp sounded out, seeming to ring in Ryan's ears with its volume as he went for a second swipe, this time catching his target in the throat and cutting the agonised shout into a sickening gurgle. The man fell, slumping against the ground below as his lifeblood poured out onto the concrete. He continued to twitch even as Ryan stepped over him, a pang of guilt washing through Ryan as he wondered whether the man even had a clone. In short order he dismissed the guilt, resolving to fret over such matters later if he survived this mission at all. He opened the door, and stepped into the corridor his lover was apparently confined in.

Immediately Ryan knew something was wrong. These weren't cells. These were offices, and nice ones. Tinted black glass obscured the contents of every office from view and each door was made of rich mahogany coloured synthwood. He stepped forwards, his battered trainers finding plush red carpet beneath his feet. He stepped again, beginning to hurry forwards at an increasingly anxious pace as he checked the doors to his right, passing door after door until he reached the one he was looking for. Office 7A. Ryan pushed the door open, slipping through and practically slamming it shut with his shoulder to the door as one might when one has that uncanny sense that they are being chased. He braced against it, pure fear gripping him in that moment.

"What are you doing here?" A familiar voice asked, it's tone warm but quizzical and perhaps a little confused. Ryan turned, still keeping his back to the door as he sought out the person speaking, then all his fears melted away.

There, sat behind her desk as glorious as the day he had met her, was his Leona. She was dressed in a crisp white suit, shoulders padded out to increase her already commanding stature and a gold chain hung about her neck to compliment the gold of the tattoos on her jawline. She had her head tilted at him, gaze narrowed and critical as it drank Ryan in, her palms clasped on the desk as though ready to deliver a scolding to a child who had stepped out of line. Ryan stepped forwards, the gears in his brains seeming to jar and stutter in his head as the situation he found himself in became so vastly different from the one he had expected.

"I'm here to rescue you." He said dumbly as he arrived in front of Leona's desk, his tattered and cheap attire completely out of place in the magnificence of this corporate office.

"I don't need saving." Leona replied curtly, eyes flicking too and from as she appraised the details of Ryan's person. Leona caught sight the blood staining his hand and then the lens strapped to his face. Her eyes narrowed once more. "Who sent you?" She said sharply.

"ViriiSoma." Ryan replied swiftly, sensing urgency in Leona's tone.

"-Who-? Which agents?" Leona clarified as she stood from behind her desk.

"A tall guy, broad shoulders with shades. He was with a redhead. Short, green eyes, wore a lot of red." Ryan uttered back only to be met with the sound of Leona's cursing.

"Scully and Slater." She growled, the whites of her canines seeming particularly wicked when flashed in anger. "This is not the extraction package we agreed on."

At that moment the door to the office opened and an officious looking man bustled in. He carried a few extra pounds that even the meticulously crafted cut of his jet black suit couldn't quite hide. His dark, close cropped hair seemed to blend seamlessly into a full but well groomed beard. This, was Anthony Weber. Weber didn't even seem to notice Ryan as he approached the desk, dropping a stack of paperwork large enough to write a phonebook on to the wooden surface.

"We've a fresh batch of data from the field assets that needs sifting through." The man said in a heavy German accent. "It is a lot, and much of it will likely prove useless, but I know your keen eye is up to the task Miss Onai." He continued, referring to Leona then turning to go, his work apparently sufficiently delegated. It was at this moment he noticed Ryan stood alongside him in front of Leona's desk. He stalled for a second, recognition sparking in his brown eyes, then fear as he spotted the coagulating blood dripping from Ryan's right hand. He reached for his gun, turned to draw on Ryan, then one side of his face exploded as he was hit with several high velocity rounds. Copious thick gore splattered across the door, one way window, and Ryan's optical lens before Ryan looked in shock to Leona.

Leona was still stood behind her desk, but now she clasped the pistol grip of an MP11 sub machine gun in one hand, her arm fully extended after shooting Saedor Krupp's new Chief of Security. The advanced silencer on the weapon meant that little more than the clatter of the bolt cycling and had been audible with each round fired. Leona flicked her gaze down to the corpse that had dropped to the ground, stepping out from behind the desk as she kept the weapon trained on it until she was content with the kill, then she spoke to Ryan.

"Do you realise what you've done by coming here Ryan?" Leona spat at him, expression anxious. "I was working. Selling data to Viriisoma. A couple more days and we were supposed to have enough money to start a new life together, wherever we wanted."

"But they sold you out." Ryan replied, the pieces of this fractured puzzle finally starting to slot together.

"And now -I- have to save -you-." Leona told him. "They won't let you leave alive, and once they realise once I've done, I'll be in the same position. We need to go." She continued, stepping to the window to peer left and right down the corridor, her submachine gun held in both hands now.

"Throw my trenchcoat over your clothes and wipe the blood off your hand." Leona commanded Ryan, nodding towards an armoured Saedor Krupp trenchcoat hanging on a coat hook near the door. "You'll attract less attention that way."

Ryan threw the trenchcoat over his shoulders, finding an unbloodied patch on Weber's suit to wipe his bloodied hand on. The suit did a poor job of removing the thick, clotting liquid of the other agents blood from Ryan's hand but the red stains left on his palm and fingers were far less obnoxious than the previously dripping blood that had coated them.

"Stay close to me." Leona told Ryan and he obliged, falling into step alongside her as she walked into the corridor, holstering her compact submachine gun against her thigh as they paced away from the service stairs and towards an elevator lobby.

"Shouldn't we use the stairs?" Ryan offered up as the couple continued their journey, but Leona shook her head.

"Speed is the priority here. There is a security team on the ground floor. If they're alerted before we get there it won't matter if we're on the stairs or in the elevator. We're dead either way." She returned, her tone low as she stepped between Ryan and a passing suit, trying to obscure him from view with her more familiar form. She jabbed a button on the elevator panel as they arrived there, foot tapping impatiently and gaze searching out any reflective surface she could find as she tried to remain watchful without looking suspicious.

Time ticked on as an awkward silence took hold until the elevator pinged and the doors slipped open. They stepped inside and Ryan quickly pushed the close button to cut off an approaching suit before he could join them inside. Some form of classical piano music played across the elevator speakers, it's tinkling tunes supposedly soothing but instead infuriatingly jarring when compared to the infinite knots of tension forming a pit in Ryan's stomach. The elevator clanked into motion and Ryan's eyes flicked up to watch the level indicator intently as he and his lover closed with their freedom from a building that had come to feel like an elaborate coffin.

As the elevator passed the first floor, halfway to the ground floor, the elevator juddered to a sudden halt. The abruptness of the elevators braking nearly caused Ryan's knees to buckle and pain flared through his right hip once more as he was reminded of the near miss he had with concrete poisoning earlier. Ryan grabbed Leona's hand to stabilise himself and their eyes met. Both of them knew this was not an accident. The elevator had been stopped deliberately and a security team was on the way to flatline the couple before they could escape. Neither of them wanted that and they set into unified motion. A square maintenance hatch was set into the ceiling and Leona took a knee, cupping both hands atop her raised knee to protect it as Ryan stepped atop it and slammed the hatch with the hefty weight of his crowbar. It took a few slams to open but once it had he climbed through and reached a hand out for Leona to follow.

The couple found themselves in an elevator shaft, the top of the lift level with the first floor elevator doors and a glow-in-the-dark emergency release button which was swiftly pressed. The doors opened onto a corridor and Ryan climbed through to a swift reply of bullets flying his way. Like Leona's weapon the security teams firearms were silenced, spraying a selection of calibers into the wall behind Ryan with only the clatter of weapon bolts and the impacts of the bullets to hear. Ryan took cover back in the lift shaft and Leona stepped through to return a hail of automatic fire, suppressing their assailants to provide an opportunity to move. Ryan dashed across the elevator lobby into an adjacent corridor and Leona followed just after, no plan in play now as the couple sought out a place to find cover from the pursuing security team. They found none.

The corridor Ryan and Leona had found themselves in was a straight, uncompromising line with locked doors on the right, and viewing gallery windows on the left. Rounds began to ping by once more as the security team rounded the corner. Once again the agents found themselves suppressed by answering bursts from Leona's MP11.

"I hope you have ideas darling, because I only have so many rounds." Leona called to Ryan, her tone tense as she fired from the hip, brass casings clattering to the ground after pinging off the glass viewing gallery windows. Ryan's gaze involuntarily followed some of the flying casings, and from there he spotted what was beyond the windows.

Ryan's view through the glass overlooked the serene looking rock garden of Saedor Krupp's entrance lobby. Surreally various suits and civilians continued to go about their daily business in the garden below, blissfully ignorant to the life or death firefight raging just overhead.

"Dear. Do you trust me?" Ryan asked Leona, weighing up the crowbar in his hand as he eyed the glass.

"Yes, but hurry up." Leona retorted, not seeming to notice a round grazing her cheek as she continued to spray copious lead down the corridor, a picture of ferocity.

"Then -jump-." Ryan yelled, his crowbar slamming through the glass and turning it into a waterfall of crystalline shards that fell to the floor below and flowed over the rock garden like some elaborate instillation art. Ryan and Leona followed swiftly after, each landing heavily but so lost in the adrenaline that they quickly got up and sprinted for the street beyond.

The exhaust fumes of acrid street air hit the couples lungs like a refreshing dive into a lake on a hot day. Bewildered passers by stared and pointed at the pair in alarm as WJF sirens sounded out alarmingly close. The density of the crowd seemed to obscure anything further than ten metres away from view and Ryan stepped into the street to get a clearer view, Leona's hand in his once more. He was sure he'd seen a sliver of WJF gold uniform somewhere amongst the crowd.

With the crowd out of the way the overhead blimps suddenly seemed more obvious to Ryan, each displaying a live feed of their predicament to the masses from a drones view overhead. The headlines read "Sabotage at Saedor?" In bold scrolling text, smaller screens showing first person footage of Anthony Weber's untimely end alongside a live display of Saedor Krupp's plunging stock values. Both NLM and ViriiSoma seemed to be seeing significant rises in stock value as traders jumped ship. Blood splattered over the screen displaying Weber's death and Ryan tore off the optical lens ViriiSoma had issued him as yet another layer of betrayal was revealed by the footage, tossing the lens under the wheel of a passing taxi. Traffic continued to drive at Leona and Ryan as they made their way across the street, swerving only at the last possible moment to pass the couple and honking angrily as they did so.

The ground shook rhythmically underfoot and from behind a truck a WJF Ingram mech reared it's armoured might, a bristling array of heavy weapons trained on Ryan and Leona. "Leona Onai and Ryan Tailor. You are charged with 1st Degree Trespass, Assault, 1st Degree Murder, 1st Degree Murder, Corporate Espionage and Corporate Treason. You will release your weapons and surrender to Judgement." The mech droned out, the pilots voice dehumanised by the speakers on the huge death machine.

Ryan's bewildered mind barely followed the litany of charges, simplifying them down to their ultimate meaning, impending death. The remainder of his attention was instead spent seeking out escape routes. He spotted the skywalk nearby, about ten metres away. The straps on Ryan's tactical paraglider seemed to practically burn his shoulders as the realisation struck him that the 20 floor drop from the skywalk could spell freedom for him and his lover. He clasped her hand and began to sprint.

"YOU HAVE TEN SECONDS TO COMPLY."

--- The end ---

So yeahhhh it's a cliffhanger ending folks! Feel free to write your own endings or just tell me what you think happens. I do have my own idea as to what happens, but I'd like to know what you guys think. Hope you enjoyed it.