“Yeah. The top floors seem too weird to waste. Did you know that this place was supposed to be redeveloped, but then something happened and the company that bought it sold it to someone else.”
We pulled off to the side of the road to look up at it, ignoring the concrete People Mover station and platform that crossed over the street. I didn’t see any trains coming, but if that meant that no one would be coming by during the fight, it would be a good thing.
Vincent leaned to my right, staring up at the tower. “I don’t think I ever looked at the Book Tower’s top floors before this. They look like they were made for vampires.”
Over my comm, I continued talking, “I checked a government database, and the company that bought the place is suspected to be a Syndicate L front company.”
Mateo didn’t look back as he responded, “I remember reading that the new company put a lot of work into the place, but that they had money problems and everything stalled. You’ve fought Syndicate L before. What’s your read on that?”
On one level, the question felt like a lot of the questions he’d asked me that were more about critiquing my thought process than the answer. This might be more of the same, but I suspected he wanted the answer this time.
“They favor buildings where they can blend in. They ran a fake real estate company out of a building they’d stuffed full of their people and equipment for my first big fight with them. For the next big one, they got an old radio or TV station. Here my bet would be that they invested heavily, but not in the lower floors. They’ll probably fill those with cover businesses or maybe even rent the place out to real ones—maybe even businesses they indirectly own.”
Mateo’s reply filled my helmet, “That was my read too. From what I’ve heard, they’re big on technology—which means that even if no one’s in the lower levels, they’re monitored and they’ve got people ready to fight—which means fighting through the building is stupid. Sneaking through the building might also be stupid unless you can turn off their security systems.”
Even though he couldn’t see it, I found myself shaking my head, “Most security systems are cameras connected to servers with ethernet cable or maybe wifi plus alarms that may or may not be managed by a separate system. I don’t know anything about theirs yet. It might include attack robots, for example, and I’m not a hacker. I’m an engineer. I might be able to take out the security systems, but it’s going to be with an EMP—something that some people might see as potentially… revealing.”
Mateo turned around, “Do it. You’re not the only techie that creates EMPs and the other alternative is climbing up a skyscraper.”
I met his gaze, “Okay. I’m just saying that it’ll be a big EMP and it won’t be precise. It might trash computers in the area. I’ll do my best to avoid it, but, no promises. Also, I’d be strongly tempted to focus on the tower itself because that’s where the leadership will be.”
I looked up at the building, adjusting my HUD’s composite image to focus on heat. More red and yellow appeared on the tower than the rest of the building.
Mateo turned back to look at the tower and then back to me, “I think we’re past the point of worrying about a few computers.”
“I agree,” I said, “but I wanted you to know before I did it. Also, we’re going to want to do it from here and maybe rush in after that. I don’t want to risk destroying our bikes.”
Vincent grunted, “Nuke them and rush in while they’re still trying to figure out what works? I like that plan.”
Mateo took a deep breath, “I’m not sure I do, but it’s the best plan we’ve got right now. Loose the nukes.”
“Technically, they’re not nukes,” I said and used my implant to access the bike’s less obvious controls. With more than three times as much material as the Rocket suit, I had a lot to work with. Of course, it also meant that the transformed version of the bike was a bit unwieldy indoors.
But never mind, I felt the weapons systems like they were extensions of my own body. Calculating the area the EMP would have to cover, I knew I’d have to use all five of the EMP bombs I’d brought along. As annoying as that was, I hadn’t used any all summer. I probably wouldn’t need more.
Loading them with a mental command to the implant, I fired them all at once, rocking the bike back as what amounted to four giant roachbots fired off, rockets blazing. Two of them were aimed at the tower. The other three spread out across the length of the main building.
The result was anticlimactic—at least for me.
Watching through the roachbombs’ gave me little more than a blur of streetlights and darkness, shattered windows, blurred rooms, and then explosions that ended in darkness from the feeds.
Coming back to myself, I watched as every light in Book Tower and the main building below it went dark.
With a chittering laugh, Vincent said, “Gun it,” and Mateo and I roared toward the building.