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Mac turns the corner, and tries one more time. “Jensen?” No answer on comms. “Fucking hell, if you’re ignoring us I’ll have your guts for shiny metal garters - ”

He opens the nearest door, and stops. In the corner, a ray of light falls on a figure slumped against the wall. He squints in the dimness, reaching for the goggles at his belt - and then sees the glint of black augs. And something darker, slicker. For a stupid, stunned half-second he wonders if they leak oil. Then the copper smell hits him, and he knows it’s blood.

He crosses the room in a second. “Jesus, what the fuck did they do to you?”

“EMP grenade. And a few jackboots. They had a… big guy. Augmented.” Adam coughs, and it sounds too wet. His… muscles, or whatever the fuck they are, are jumping as his arms tense and relax, tense and relax. Next to the stillness of the rest of him, it’s unnerving as hell. There’s more blood on his face, and it’s got to be sticking in that fancy beard.

Mac checks him over, hands briefly on bleeding temples. “You rebooting?

Adam nods. It looks like he wants to sway, but the augs are stiff and still and won’t let him. One of those stupid shades is smashed. Underneath it, one bright-green eye blinks, the pupil contracting with the light. The lines of pain around it, the dazedness to them… all too human. Fucking creepy, frankly.

Maybe Mac should care about that, but right now he’s more focused on the pain. And making sure they don’t get ambushed. He checks his radar, briefly, and then looks over his shoulder for visual confirmation. "Any of them left?”

Adam just shakes his head, and Mac remembers the trail of unconscious bodies outside. Adam’s fingers flex, and he stares at them like he’s relearning them. “All clear. First…” He coughs, and the sound’s frightening. “First pulse didn’t do it. I took out a few of them. Last one had this.” His left hand opens. Looks like it was involuntary. Something clatters to the floor.

Mac picks it up. A big bastard of an EMP taser, looks like a TESLA. “And then they put the boot in.”

Adam’s too still, breathing heavily but tightly, like there might be a rib or six broken. And he should look… afraid, or pissed-off, or something, but instead there’s just pain and resignation. Like this happens all the time.

Mac starts to unstrap the tacvest, looking for… “Tell me you’re not bleeding out. I’m a lot of things, but I’m not a field medic.”

A metal hand wraps round his and stops it. “Would be if…” Adam sighs. “If I didn’t have the Sentinel. Looks worse than it is.”

“Really? Because from where I’m standing, it looks pretty bloody dreadful.”

The corner of Adam’s mouth ticks up, just slightly. It’s a shadow of the usual smarm, but it’s enough. “Help me up?” Adam grits out.

Mac grabs his arm and drags him up, Adam stiffly getting the rest of the way. “Is it usually like this?”

Adam grunts. “Usually it’s just the grenade. And they don’t catch me with an overheated system.” He sways, and Mac grabs him.

“Just the… fucking Christ.” Mac exhales, and keeps his walk as straight as he can while half-carrying a fucked-up aug. For such a lanky streak of nothing, Adam’s surprisingly heavy. Maybe it’s all the metal and barely-repressed sarcasm. “Don’t you keep a biocell? Something?”

“Wouldn’t have helped.” Adam still sounds shaky, like he’s having to work for a breath. Shit. “Won’t happen again. Something left over from… Ruzicka. I solved it just before - ”

“Everything went to shit?” Mac tries to keep him here. “I wondered why they weren’t all focused on us. Followed the ones diving round corners. The problem’s all your sneaking round. I only realised when I couldn’t raise you on comms.”

Another damp, rough cough, but there seem to be fewer of them. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking. “So you went looking." 

So he did. But that’s just basic duty. Can’t go letting agents die willy-nilly. Even if they are overly-augmented pissants. "When does your health system start working?”

“Already is. Or I’d be…” Adam grits bloody teeth. “A lot less alive right now. It’s… insulated.”

“Right. Thanks. Reassuring. I guess it’d be a bit embarrassing if anyone could whip out a taser and prod you to death.”

Adam nods, and winces, still staggering exhaustedly.

“The others aren’t far. Try not to croak on me before we get there.”

Adam inhales through his teeth. “I told you, looks worse than it is.”

“Yeah, right.”

“Mac - ”

“Shut up and don’t-die faster.”

“Thanks. I mean it.”

He grunts, and keeps walking, Adam a solid weight against his side. One step at a time.