IT services in San Francisco had never been so absolutely terrifying; though on some level Mark knew he was working in greater capacity as a government agent. Mark hyperventilated as the man who had chased him, then jumped from the building, fell. But he couldn’t fall forever.
Even forty-some stories high, there was enough momentum behind the enemy agent’s plunge for Mark to hear a CRACK!, followed by a wail of terror from the passerby. “Least they gave me a license to kill,” he muttered, hiding the gun on his person with trembling hands. “Now…how do I escape?”
Mark ran for the elevator, thought better of it, went around behind its housing, and found a door leading to a stairwell. Locked. He kicked it, remembered he had a gun, shot the lock, and thankfully that worked. Mark plunged down the stairs as fast as his legs would carry him. He’d have kept on, but he heard echoing voices coming up from below.
Security, cops–who knew. Mark shouldered into a door and came out among posh offices. There was an edge of excitement in the air. Luckily there were several restrooms nearby. Mark ducked in, stowed the gun for the second time, and took a good look at himself in the mirror. He was sweating, but that was it. Business slacks, a collared shirt–he looked professional. Mark wiped perspiration from his forehead, washed his hands, dried them, and breathed. “You provide IT support in San Francisco, and that is…that is all anyone needs to know.”
Mark turned and left the restroom, walking face-first into the chest of a cop the size of a redwood who bellowed: “Hey! Who’re you!”
“Uh, I’m with OneClick Solutions Group–”
“What’re you doing on Bank of America’s Floor?”
“I…had a meeting with a manager, we provide IT services like:
• Apple Support
• Cloud Computing
• Business Continuity Planning–”
“Enough,” the officer cut him off. “Melvin, get this geek outta here so we can find the shooter.”
“Come on,” said another cop, and grabbed Mark under his elbow, escorting him to another set of elevators.
Mark allowed himself to be escorted, then took the train to the district where his apartment was. He spent a good three hours checking and double checking to ensure he wasn’t followed. He would go in a store, hang out in the bathroom, leave, then go to another store, then walk around a block, in an alley, out another–he basically convoluted his route as much as possible. If you could have drawn a dotted line vis-a-vis The Family Circus’ Jeffrey, it would have looked like somebody gave the toddler an espresso.
Finally Mark got home, mixed a scotch and water–hold the water–and flopped down in a chair with its back to a wall he knew was cement. Mark kept the curtains drawn and the lights off, sitting in the same chair until daybreak wondering how he’d ever go back to delivering normal IT support in San Francisco. He would sip the scotch and wonder…who was Drake Bannon? What kind of evil did a corporation–or cartel, as The President said–put on a man so he’d rather die than talk? What was “Orb”? Why had Drake Bannon been trying to kill him–how did it all fit? …And what had he gotten himself into?