The first thing I notice when I creep out of that god-forsaken shaft and into the empty field is the complete sensory desolation. The advertising companies had long ago started patenting the smells and sounds of their products. This was not good. Last time I escaped this facility, I had emerged in a bustling town. They must have leveled it.
I feel the tears welling up again. The lump in my throat grows and grows.
No! I will not let my brief reprise weaken me like this.
I close my eyes and focus on my breathing. They are better prepared this time, but still not unbeatable. I count backwards from 100 and focus on what I am feeling. The pain in my legs is still very high and I use it to focus my mind. When I have calmed down enough that I know I will not be overtaken with panic, I open my eyes. This is just another security measure I need to overcome. After they leveled the town, they placed a syntho-grid. This particular one was meant to simulate tall grasses that could conceal a person from guards, but I wasn’t fooled. The second I set foot on this grid an alarm would go off.
I take a deep breath and touch the edge of the grid. I need to figure out if it is a pressure trigger or a biological one. As soon as I touch the edge I can see the code that makes up the whole thing. It is a biological trigger set to recognize human. I release the power that built up inside me in order to reveal the code. My vision blurs again and I rest my head against the inside of the tunnel until it clears. It takes longer for me to recover this time. I won’t be able to use my powers very much more. I consider resting here to regain my strength and recharge my powers, but I quickly dismiss the idea. I need to be far away when the mainframe reboots and figures out I’m missing.
Biological sensors are easier to beat than pressure ones, but they’re still no picnic. I hunt around for something useful. The clothes I’m wearing have no doubt been embedded with my DNA so I can’t just wrap my feet up and walk. I glance around until I see a slight dip indicating another opening like the one I am currently looking out of, another grate. It’s too far away to be any use. My only choice is to use up the last of my powers and hope I don’t run into any more trouble today.
I touch the edge of the grid again. The code flashes before my eyes and I examine it to see the ebbs and flows of the sensors. I carefully nudge them to allow a perfectly straight path from me to the edge, but I will have to be fast. I star running in the direction I know will now be trigger free.
As soon as my hand releases the edge of the grid I feel myself falling. My head is spinning and my vision is darkening. I collapse on the grass. I know I have only a matter of seconds to get up and run, but I’m so tired. I try and push myself up, but it’s no use. Using my power drained me too much.
No! Stop pitying yourself, George. You are better than this. You can do this.
I can do this. I prop myself up on a shaky hands.
Just one foot in front of the other, easy.
I plant my feet and push until I’m standing. My legs are screaming in protest, but I have to ignore them. I stare at the edge of the grid and I run, slowly at first but then picking up speed. I feel my old training kicking in and run faster than I have in years. I don’t have the time or energy to check if I missed my window of opportunity. I just keep running.