It didn’t take long before we reached the front of the People Mover station and elevated railway in front of the skyscraper. Well lit, with a pavilion of steel beams and a white roof, the station looked like the perfect place to get off a bus and wait for a train.
There were a few people standing under it, most of them staring at their phones—which was good because it meant their phones still worked.
Barely slowing down, Mateo turned left on the road running next to the People Mover tracks and the concrete pillars holding them above the ground. Turning right on the next street, we sped around to the main entrance to Book Tower.
We came to a stop on the sidewalk in front of the main entrance. At any rate, the ornate carvings in the molded concrete around the doors made it look like it should be the main entrance. Plus, the words, “Book Building” in the concrete of the molding above the second floor gave that impression too.
All the windows on the first floor and a few on the second were covered with plywood which didn’t make it look inviting. Plywood also replaced the glass in the metal doors.
Mateo got off of his bike as Vincent jumped off mine.
I began to slide off, but then stopped.
Mateo turned to look at me, “Are you thinking what I think you’re thinking?”
My implant estimated the size of the doors versus the size of the transformed bike. Squelching the urge to begin with, “I think so, Brain, but…,” I said, “Yes.”
Nodding and without any hint of reproach in his voice, he said, “The uh… Skunklord is going to call in for help if his creatures see your bike is helping us. The people he calls might be your friends.”
I checked my HUD, giving the street a full 360 degree look, “I don’t see any rodents unless he’s looking through Vincent’s eyes, and anyway, it won’t have been me. Also, honestly, I’m thinking if they notice it now, they might actually show up in time to help.”
Vincent flicked his tail from his left side to his right, “He’s not. Skunklord, the Batmaster, or the Rat King, whatever nickname you like, can’t look through my eyes.”
Mateo let out a breath, “Okay. I think I can live with that. If it had been up to me, we would have called in help ages ago.”
Looking over his expression for any hint that he might be bothered, I said, “I don’t want to get you in trouble.”
Glancing upward toward the highest part of the tower, he said, “We’re already in trouble. Have you thought any further ahead than turning Transformer?”
I nodded, “I was thinking that if I flew up, I might distract whoever was inside while you’re making your way up. I can scout the upper stories and we can keep in touch with the comms.”
Mateo checked the tower again, “There’s something up there. It wasn’t as obvious from farther away, but from here I can see it. The top stories of the skyscraper contain unlife. I don’t know what’s in there beyond guessing it’s probably vampires, but be careful. Stay alive and we’ll meet you up there.”
I started the transformation, reaching out with my implant to connect with the motorcycle’s control systems, and feeling the body of the motorcycle reform around me, sending me upward so that I could look through the head.
Within seconds, I found myself looking out at a height of nine feet—more than two feet higher than the Rocket suit. The weapons systems came online including the new versions I’d created before going to bed.
From the outside, I knew that Mateo and Vincent were seeing an armored human shape, but silver, red and blue, and enough of the little styling quirks that the look of the mech should remind people of V4’s motorcycle.
For the less observant, I’d also placed the V4 logo in the middle of the mech’s chest.
Vincent laughed, “I think I know who you are now.”
Sweeping around us with the suit’s sensors, I didn’t see anything worth worrying about except that the tallest part of the Book Building didn’t radiate anything much at all.
I wondered what they had in there, but only gave a wave with my hand while saying, “Stand back!”
The rockets on the suit’s boots roared and the suit, slowly at first, but then with increasing speed, left the ground, shooting off the sidewalk and into the air.
Racing up the side of the tower, it didn’t take long before I reached the top of the tower. Experienced at flying, if not at flying in this suit, I’d anticipated that and aimed sideways to circle the tower.
Even as I took a wide circle around the top above the pointed, green with rust, copper roof, I didn’t like that the sensors weren’t getting anything inside the tower. The EMP bombs had penetrated it.
I began to wonder how far they’d penetrated. Before I could start to review the data from the logs, a human shape stepped out of one of the windows and blue flame burst from its feet and back.
I wasn’t surprised. Syndicate L had well-designed powered armor and a good designer would harden the armor against EMPs. That didn’t bother me. The question of how many suits of powered armor did bother me—especially as a second figure followed the first into the night sky.