I twist my body as quickly as I can, slipping out of their hold on me. I tumble towards the ground and catch myself, spinning towards the one with the gun. He fumbles it. His hands shake as he meets my gaze.
The man points his weapon directly at my face, but I reach out before he gets the chance to pull the trigger. I crush the barrel in my hand and rip it from his grasp. He stumbles forward, the force of the attack surprising him.
The kidnapper’s voice wavers, “What the…” He looks to Silverfish.
I toss the gun aside. Their eyes are on me, I can sense it. A tingling thought in the back of my foggy mind tells me not to reveal my abilities, but my body does not care. My default setting is safety.
I can’t see all of my surroundings, but my mechanical half processes it. I scan for the easiest exit, narrowing in on the plastic hole in the middle of the wall. I plummet towards it. My instincts are driving my flight response.
The kidnappers move faster than I anticipate. Before I reach the entrance, one of them swings in front of me. It’s Silverfish. He reaches for a taser in his belt, causing my given eye to zoom in and focus. I can’t handle being tased twice with my repair unit down—I might short circuit permanently, my human half dying alongside my mechanical supports.
Silverfish points his taser at me. I duck, but even at my advanced speed, his aim is sharp. He pulls the trigger, sending the barbed ends toward me. I tumble forward, rolling to the left, and jump back to my feet directly next to him.
He doesn’t panic as he reverts to a defensive position. I reach out and grab the side of his neck. He struggles against my grip. Something malfunctions in my hand, sending a spark to my fingertips. Silverfish yelps and I toss him aside. He falls on his side, hands already reaching for the red welts forming.
Before they can stop me, I hit the yellow button that opens the circle doors. The door slices open. My backpack catches on the entrance rim as I squirm inside. I push through, then I am free falling.
And I stop. My carbon ankle pops. I do not care.
“Not that easy, you dirty robot,” the kidnapper spits. It’s the young one. He has me by the ankle. He tries to haul me up, but I’m heavier than he expects. He calls for his companion.
My eyes focus in on him. I kick out with my human side.
“Ow, dammit!” He gripes.
Then I kick and kick and kick until his grasp slips and he pitches back, out of view. I fly downwards as my ankle is freed.
As soon as the danger is gone, my emergency mode fades away. Now my human half takes over, and my emotions come back with a gasp.
My body smacks against the sides of the tunnel. Between the terror of free falling, wondering when it will end, and my constant collision with the walls, there’s not much left but pain.
I’ve never felt so much pain.
I realize pretty quickly that my escape is a new kind of danger, the Delmoun waste disposal. I’m heading for the Mantle.
When I land, it isn’t with relief. I slam into what I think is the ground, but the floor pulls me downward; it consumes me. Something slimy drags across my neck while my arms are trapped below the refuse. As I'm dragged below the surface, I find myself free falling once again. I’m awake one second, and then I’m not.
It goes on like that for what feels like ages, following the course of garbage and leftovers. My vision adjusts to the darkness, but everything remains hazy. I don’t think. I don’t feel. I just go with the flow. Painfully.
I see eyes staring at me through the groggy fog of my mind. Human eyes. Impossible. I don’t know where I am but I know it’s unlivable. There’s no light, no air. I’m hallucinating. From the pain? From the fumes? I don’t know; I’m too tired to think coherently.
My vision goes dark. I think. It looks the same either way.
I wake again, falling. More of my body getting torn apart, slamming into walls, tossed into a new stream of discarded things. Falling forever. Falling until…until I’m not. Until all I can feel is my human side.