<<< From ACDC Town: Familiar Faces <<<

Stepping off the bus, Steve was met with the large building that was Yomitagi Industries. Walking through the large rotating doors, he made his was towards the front desk, ignoring the glares and comments. A young lady was at the desk, talking away on a headset.

Excuse me, where can I find Nicholas Forscythe? he asked.

He got no reply as the woman ignored him and continued talking. Ignored, he raised his voice. EXCUSE ME, he spoke, a lot louder than before.

Hold on sir, she replied before turning back to her conversation. So yeah, I was gonna go back to his house but- was all she heard before the connection was suddenly severed.

Putting his small utility knife back in its pocket, Steve turned to the lady again. I'm sure you think I'm scum, but I've got something important that I know Nick would want to see. Now are you going to call him, or should I just let myself up? he growled at the lady.

Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to leave, the lady ordered.

Steve hung his head. I'm getting nowhere with you, he muttered before walking past the desk and into the hallway.

Wait, you can't go in there! she yelled as he took off down the corridor. Somebody stop him!

As he got near the end of the hallway, he caught glimpse of an elevator. Running up to it, he pushed the "up" button. Nothing. He pushed it again. Still nothing. Suddenly, a hand grabbed him on the shoulder.

Sir, you need to come with me, a loud and deep voice came from behind him.

Steve's eyes quickly darted around, his old instinct kicking in. The reflection of the door showed that it was a lone security guard. His eyes glanced to a card on his belt. They then glanced to a slot just above the elevator call buttons.

Thanks, you've been a big help, he replied before returning to his former glory. He began by grabbing the hand, twisting the hand and attached arm behind the guard's back, kicking his legs from behind, and thrusting his fist into the base of the back of the guard's neck, knocking him out cold. Bending down over his assailant, he removed the security key and slotted it into the card holder. The elevator lights lit up, and Steve pressed the "Up" key. A few seconds later, and the doors opened. Steve stepped inside, and slid his finger down the floor guide. No "Nicholas Forscythe" was to be found.

Stupid. If he was here, he'd go by a different name now, he remembered, and began looking for any names with the initials N V. As his finger slid to a Neville Fronda, he hit the corresponding level. Three levels from the top, what a surprise, he laughed.
Steve looked down the corridor. This can't be right. Although it did make sense as to why it was the only name on the entire floor...

Steve stepped out of the elevator and into a one-office level. The beauty was magnificent. The furniture had names you'd only seen in secret spy movies. The coffee table was filled with fruit of such quality he was sure they were plastic. And the view! A breathtaking horizon of Science Labs, the greatest technological gathering of minds in Electopia, maybe even the world.

Sorry, I'm not seeing anybody today, a voice informed him.

Turning around, his eyes focused on his old comrade. Nick? he asked, puzzled on the new look.

STEVE! he hissed, grabbing him by the shoulders and rushed him into a small closet near the elevator, shielded from the rest of the room.

Shutting the door behind him, "Nick" turned on a light, and forced him against the wall, feet in the air. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE?! he seethed through clenched teeth.

Let... go... of me... he gasped. Releasing him, Steve fell to the floor.

You shouldn't be here! Nick whispered angrily, as if somebody might be listening, even though Steve was sure they were the only two on the level. I've spent years here, starting again from the bottom, and I'm not about to risk it again just so you can say "Hi"!

Steve reached into another one of his pockets and pulled out the black PET. Bet this is worth it, he wheezed, still trying to get his breath back.

Snatching it from his hand, Nick began to fiddle with it. When the dormant navi flashed onto the screen, he almost dropped it out of pure shock. This can't be. You're screwing with me, aren't you.

I wish I was, Steve replied, getting back on his feet. I got up this morning, and it was sitting on my table.

So you just decided to open a random package, with no idea who sent it. Are you nuts?! Nick questioned.

It's been 7 years, Nick. I didn't take the government package, so I didn't think I was worth blowing up. he reasoned.

That attitude will get you killed. We made a lot of friends, but even more enemies by comparison. Never forget that, Nick reminded.

Don't remind me. Steve suddenly became quiet and solemn. I lost more that day than you did.

Whatever. Stay here, I'll be right back, Nick told Stve before leaving the closet. As his sight adjusted to the dim light, a large crowd of expensive and exotic clothing choices covered the walls. To be able to buy this much, their owner must have a very high salary.

The door opened and closed, and Nick was back, holding a laptop. Let's see if you're pulling my leg, he half-laughed as he plugged the PET physically into the computer. With a few clicks and a bit of button-mashing, a whole host of testing screens began to flash on and off the screen, all displaying a quick green tick before disappearing. Steve wasn't sure what they all meant, but a couple of choice words he was able to catch were "comparison", "emblem", "resonating", and "GMO", amongst others.

Finally the screens stopped flashing and a new window filled the display, full of ticks. That confirms it, Nick replied, concern written all over his face. That's Recon. But how?

I don't know. But I do know one thing. Either somebody knows something we don't, or...

...they lied to us.

Run it again, Steve told Nick.

There's no point. Those tests are 100% accurate.

A short silence occurred as they took this in. This changed everything. What they believed happened that cold night 7 years ago was suddenly in question.

What now? Steve asked.

Get back home. I get the feeling something bad's about to go down, Nick warned. Don't take the buses, get a cab. Just stay low unti I can find out more.

A cab? Steve complained. Travel via cab was really slow.

Just do it, Nick ordered. Go. Now. he urged, directing Steve out of the closet and back to the elevator. Use the fire exit on the 2nd basement level, you should get out relatively undetected, he added before throwing Steve an old phone. That's my old phone, if that rings, pick it up.

The doors opened, and Steve stepped in, pressing the [B2] button as directed. What's going on... he wondered before the lift doors closed and he began his descent.
The stairs were dark and slippery. Steve was having a hard time not falling over in the dark as it was, but the grip of the ground he walked on only made it worse.

The staircase ended with a door. Steve's hand searched the dark until they found a door handle. He took hold of the knob and tried to twist it, but the door wouldn't budge. He tugged on it harder, but to no avail.

Stupid door! he yelled, listening as the profanity echoed back towards the dark. Grabbing the knob for stability, Steve pulled his left leg back and swung it against the door with as much strength as he could muster. An ouch and crunch later, the door latch had splintered slightly. While it was not enought to unlock it, that was enough to slide a chip in and release the latch. NOW the door was unlocked.

For the second time today, he was blinded by sunlight as he opened the door and stepped into a back alley. What did I do to deserve this?! he yelled at two garbage cans and a half-empty dumpster. "For the good of the people" my ass, he muttered as he staggered out to the street, his leg a little sore from the door-releasing kick.


Back in the office, Nick was still tapping away at the laptop, which was now sitting on his main desk, running more diagnostics on Recon's PET. The phone that sat next to him began to ring.

Nick picked up the receiver. R & D division, Neville speaking.

The phone stayed in his hand. Minutes passed, and Nick's eyes began to look more and more worried as time passed. Without warning, he slammed the receiver down, grabbed the closest coat, and ran towards the elevator, and once inside, pressed the button for ground level.

Once there, Nick stepped over the body of the guard who, incidentally, was still unconscious, and ran to the door.

Mr Fronda! the receptionist jerkily replied, quite surprised at his sudden appearance. There was a lou-

Don't care. Hold my calls, he replied before exiting the building. Something definitely had him spooked.

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