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Wreath of Glory

Chapter Text

Koller opened his eyes slowly to reveal the hard reality before him. His HUD was of no use to him in the pitch darkness, and his ears couldn’t help him here either. The cellar that he kept himself holed up in was sandwiched with thirty meters of brick, concrete, steel pipes.... and The Time Machine perched on top of it all like a cherry. He scouted for months to find the perfect blind spot, but in doing so, had left himself trapped. Any overhead satellite or drone would be able to read an augmented persons GPL if it wasn’t air tight, and then kaboom! Incoming drone attacks and all his years of work would be gone. He had to isolate himself deep underground to be safe.

In Prague though, the retail was limited. After the Incident most of the commercial buildings had been utterly demolished. What still stood either housed hundreds of the dead or was bought up by local gangs and run as a monopoly. Rent was outrageous and always fluctuating with how many residents were natural or not. Koller didn’t have augs that spat out money! He tried to rent out storage units and run his shop incognito to save credits but that always ended up compromised. People hacking the lock, or simply caving a side of the wall in.. . . That was before the Nupoz shortages. He needed a real space to set up shop. To actually practice his art and not just patch up gangsters. He was after all regarded as a prodigy! Not some Harvester scum or Dvali gangster.

His mother had actually been the one who forwarded him the e-mail about the listing. It was a two story retail spot in the middle of the Překážka district- right by the Chicken Foot. A place known for it’s amazing kung pow chicken, atmosphere, and strong ales. Koller had been there many, many times. It had sewer access. It had roof access. It was just out of the way to be slightly hard to find but close enough to be convenient. However, was in the middle of the D’vali territory.

The D’vali not only owned half of Prague but the police too. They were a family of mobsters who had seized the opportunity to oppress first the Augs with Neuropozyne, then the Naturals with Neon. A “kill you if you do, kill you if you don't” policy for Aug’s. No one tried to stop them however, because whatever the city could afford to comfort, the D’Vali owned and operated it. As long as one did not annoy the family, you were safe. Too bad for Koller he had found an “in” with the head boss.

Radich had a very special need for an augmented genius. He had a very secret augmentation, controversial to some, and no one he could trust now with the Human Restoration Act in imminancy. Even unhooking the augmentation and hobbling around on crutches would only increase the image that he was weak. The weak were left behind to die. Radich Nikoladze was not weak. He was the Kingpin of the D’Vali family- and constantly defending his authority from Otar D’Vali forming a coup de grace. So, after a quick exchange of favors, Vaclav now found himself interwound in the great D’Vali power struggle, but also in possession of the Time Machine...

The Time Machine may have been created at first to just be a front for his back alley augmentation clinic, but he had actually enjoyed investing in it over the years. It filled him with as much warm pride as his aug clinic! Koller would pour over flea market tables laiden with old books just to find rare editions and obscure titles. Sure, occasionally he would just stumble across treasures either discarded on the subway or shoved into a trash can, but it was more than that. Twice he had spent all day book hunting and returned with nothing... while at the same time neglecting his other “work”. Otar had warned him that if he wanted D’vali protection, he better start being useful “somehow”.

Today he felt no pride or warmth in his surroundings. He had been shot in the head.

Chapter Text

“Mr. Jensen.”

“Why are you calling me, Otar? The last time we spoke you said we were done.” Adam’s voice always had a gravel to it, but when Otar was on the other line it intensified to a smolder.
The mob boss had given him a job to do in exchange of a favor he had done for Jensen. Give up the neural calibrator, which was useless to an unaugmented person anyway, for overthrowing the current leader of the D’Vali. Adam had felt he had more important things to do than be a hired gun for some small time local gang. He, after all, was only in Prague to work for TF29 to help stop global terrorism. So he hadn’t done it. He wasn’t a lap dog.

The older man scoffed. “I also said I would teach you a lesson. You behaved dishonorably. And treachery has a price!” Jensen did the calculations quickly. The only common denominator Otar and Jensen had, was Koller. His augmentation specialist had been wrapped up in what he called “D’vali internal politics” but he had been fed the line as an easy out, and he left it at that. Jensen had secretly known the truth though, these things were never a “simple” misunderstanding, because if Koller was being targeted by Otar directly there was a reason for it.

 

“Jensen? Jensen?!” Adam heard Kollers voice break through, sounding like a child waking from a nightmare. Tossing of fabric and flesh collided into heavy thuds. Static soon bleed into place of screams and moans. It was the silence that arrested the protesting moans that made Jensen nearly vomit. He had a lot of experience in the sounds of death. Adam had already broken out into a full sprint down the streets when the call started and he had just passed Čapek's Fountain. “He was wrong to trust you- just as I was! Neither of us will make that mistake again.”

Adam had a biting remark he wanted to offer but the line had gone dead. He focused instead on how the next few moments could go. He was assuming the doctor would be holed up in his, figurative and literal, underground clinic. He also assumed that Otar wouldn’t be in a hurry to leave otherwise why go through with torturing Koller before killing him and gloating about it to Jensen? To get Koller as shook as he sounded on the phone also suggested there would probably be quite the posse down there. Jensen jumped the wooden gate to get into the narrow alley behind the bookstore.

Or what was left of the bookstore. It had been burned. The windows still had thick, black smoke rolling out but the actual fire seemed to be out. Someone had taken the time to set up a metal gate in front of the doors to block the entrance and a small crowd had gathered to gossip. Jensen didn’t stop to gawk. He crouched down behind the stairway and easily lifted the manhole cover up. He would have to take the back way in.

With the combination of his Icarus Landing System and Dash, Jensen was at the brick door in meer seconds. Otars voice echoed around the dank sewer, heard but not seen. He was indeed here, just on the other side of the wall, gloating. His Smart Eye made out a total of four men behind the door on foot, and one slumped in The Chair. Adam clenched his hands into fists and his nano blades hissed down to his sides. He had to constrict all his muscles to anchor himself in place, to keep from running in.

The Den, or the Dungeon depending on its speaker, had two entrances. One in the back, where Adam was, and the other one the D’Vali had just, presumably, burnt down. They had to have known this route was here then- or Otar would have done the murdering before the burning. Getting in the back was really easy to miss too if you didn’t have a clue where to look. The back door was actually part of the sewer wall Koller had rigged up to hydrolics to slide open and shut. If they knowingly burned down the elevator shaft, they would pass right by Jensen momentarily.

“Fucking… don’t alway.. .. .. kurva! I... said…. times…. Man of my word, Vano! The fucking Russians are just as bad as these hanzars!” Otar’s voice boomed louder and Jensen plastered himself against the side of the wall. His cloak activated just as the door started to grind open. He could smell the fire from above them and see the shadows of two men start to puddle at his feet. He took a breath in just as shapes came into the tunnel.

Vano passed by first. Otar’s Number Two guy. He had a bald head that shone in the dim light from the Den like a lighthouse- guiding Jensen’s punch through the dark. Jensen fired his right hook at the man’s face with the blade extended. Before the spray of blood erupted from where Vano’s nose used to be could hit Otar’s face, he walked his nano blade on his left arm into Otars neck. Two dead bodies crumbled right in front of him. By the time the others had pulled their guns from standby to ready, Jensen had cloaked again. He crouched and waddled behind two lackies with rifles. Another nano blade exploded through a back and one was left.

The gunman fired into the air and assaulted the silence that had been king before. In pursuit of the cloaked agent, most of the dangling augs had fallen from the ceiling. Adam picked one up and threw it at the gunman. It had the desired effect of pissing him off. “Za to zemřete!” He ran off towards a table that had been flipped over for cover, but never made it. After the man was two or three steps away, Jensen had simply fired off the nano blade from his left arm. The rifle clattered to the floor as the man’s body was pinned on the adjacent wall. His cloak fell and his glasses snapped back. Adam spun to face the slumped figure.

“Koller!” The tiny Czech man was sprawled over his Chair. Someone had ripped down a monitor and used it as billboard to advertise, “He had a deal”, and used Kollers own blood to sprawl the message out. “Koller!” No movement. “Václav!” Unseeing eyes stared blankly from under his mop of dark hair. Adam grabbed at the man's arm as it hung limply off to the side and gave it a shake. Koller’s head rolled in response.

His Smart Eye and Sentinel RX augmentations were picking up faint life signs though. He was breathing, albeit just barely, and his heartbeat was sporadic. Adam jabbed his right augmented index finger down Koller’s throat. It took a second, but he heaved and Adam let himself take a breath. He still had reflex movements. There might be brain damage but it was better than being brain dead.

Adam ripped the monitor off Koller’s chest and threw it over his shoulder. Thick, syrupy blood was running down the Chair and Jensen needed to find where it was coming from. Buttons popped off Koller’s red flannel shirt as Jensen pawed away anything obstructing his view. Red welts on his ribs and some superficial cuts told Adam that the monitor had probably been used to beat Koller around the torso. Adam percussed around his stomach and lungs to try and find any internal bleeding but found none.

“Turn over, buddy.” Adam flopped Koller over in the Chair onto his left side and saw where the bleeding was coming from. The giant hub on the back of Koller’s head had once been silver, and shone like a new dime. Now it was partially missing- in the middle it looked like someone had pulled something out of it. Blood was seeping from under what was left of the plate in thick globs. If Koller had a Sentinel RX system installed too it would explain how coagulated the blood was for being fresh.

“What the fuck..” Adam leaned in and lightly touched the area. It smelled faintly of gun power. Adam knew instantly there was little he could do himself to help his friend. But who could help? No one else in Prague had nearly enough experience and a hospital’s were only for naturals. Would Alex know someone in the Juggernau-

David Sarif.

Chapter Text

Red clay sand mounded around the industrial 3D printers wheels as they chugged along, vomiting white plastic walls onto the naked ground from an overhead boom. The idea of traditional foundations were a mute point when the terrain you built on changed its topography every three hours. Instead, construction was perched on top of 30 meter poles hammered deep into the earth about every six meters. After the walls were about seven times higher than they already stood now, it would be domed with greenhouse tops to help grow agriculture and to keep the heat and sand out.

Rabi’ha was far behind schedule though. It was greenlight in 2020 and had a timetable of being completed in two years. However, when construction started in 2027 the “bug” that came to be infamously known as the Aug Incident occurred, and the entire working population had died in a Fight Club. David Sarif had been at a conference in Pangea when the update drove every augmented person on the planet into a schizophrenic frenzy. He had barely escaped with his life. Governments everywhere had to scramble to find emergency relief efforts. A luxury condo for the fucking Hanzers could wait.

Hanzars. Clanks. Tools. Sarif had always jested that he had his right arm ornately augmentated to “help out in the company baseball games.” People would laugh and admire the craftsmanship of his gold and black arm. Back when being augmented was the fashion it was amazing to be recognized! However, when he woke up in the hospital after being stitched back together he had another conversation piece, his left arm was also augmented. He found it slightly ironic it had been done without his consent- especially right after the events. Sarif wore a gold embroidered jacket over his arms at all times now to lessen the stares, even in the desert heat.

An infolink call buzzed silently in his temple. David was instantly annoyed at this and impulsivity went to ignore it until he saw who it was. Adam Godamn Jensen. They had recently opened up communications again after Adam had resurfaced after being dead the second time. No one thought he would return after the attack on Sarif Industries launched him through a plate wall of glass, and certainly no one thought he would be back after two years MIA! It still shocked him to be reminded he was back. David bowed his head to excuse himself from the Santeau Group meeting and subvocally picked up.

“Adam, son! What-”

“I need you in Prague as soon as possible. There’s been… there’s been an accident.”

Images of bombings, police raids, drone attacks, and mass poisoning flashed through Sarif’s mind. He knew Adam was in some thick shit and always feared the worst would happen sooner or later. Someday Adam would be gone again, but for real. “Jesus Adam, what happened?!”
Panic knotted up in his stomach.

“My.... doctor is hurt. It looks like his skull augmentation has been partially shot off and he was left for dead.”

“That doesn't really sound like an accident, Adam. That sounds like an execution.” Panic subsided back to annoyance. “Besides, I’m in Oman! Flying privately is still at least five hours out and that’s not CONSIDERING the police checkpoints and-”

“I fucked up and he paid the price, Sarif.” Jensen sounded defensive and dismissed Sarif’s objections. The two men had often had arguments in the past that got heated quickly. Other people would feel alienated and attacked when Jensen cut them off but this was the same way Sarif communicated too. They just wanted to cut to the point. “There isn’t another augmentation clinic around and time is running out. ” Adam added in a softer tone when a few moments floated past, "I’m just trying to do the right thing.”

“Listen I understand that…. but I’m in meetings! I can try to find someone in the area to help but I can’t just hop onto a plane whenever an augmented person is harvested.” David didn’t hear the harshness of his words until they were spoken. Sarif had tried to help Adam find Orlov before and could use his connections again to do the same.

“If you won’t do this as favor to him or me, than at least yourself. If this man croaks then there is a entire lab full of schematics and parts you can profit off of. Stuff that would have impressed even you five years ago.” Adam knew where to emphasize to sound like an asshole.

“What are you suggesting, Adam?”

“This guy still has enemies out there, and augmentation specialists are hard enough to find. I just don't want him to end up like Orlov did. Me IDing him in a mourge. ..... There is more incentive here than to just be a decent human being too, since you’re hesitating and he’s bleeding out.”

Sarif swore at himself as his personal assistant was suddenly in his hands and plotting the flight plan to the Czech Republic. He would be crossing several country borders, time zones, and technically illegal airspaces, but he was on his way. “Adam, give me the exact address. I’m going to conference call you in the air so I can prep for whatever the hell you convinced me to walk into.”

Chapter Text

After finishing a scavenger hunt around the basement on Sarif’s request, a rough plan was set into motion. Jensen would stay put with the injured doctor and try to keep him as stable and comfortable as possible. Meanwhile, Sarif was in the air racing to get another deep brain implant to Prague before he himself arrived. The video conference started as soon as Sarif was in the air, over two hours ago, but it had taken at least an hour to try and find all the information Sarif was demanding before anything productive came of it.

“What’s the serial number on that, Adam?”

“I can’t really read it- it looks like someone tried to scratch it off.”

“Well I need you to read it because it’s a very big difference between the DMF0431-00750505 and the DMF0487-00750505. These things aren't interchangeable.”

“I can appreciate that but like I said, it’s been scratched off.” Adam was intently staring at very tiny print on the outer edge of the skull mount as Sarif was squinting from a monitor about three feet from Adam.

“Jesus Christ, kid probably bought it off some black market site.... Can you get a stronger light on the port? Is it green or blue polycarbonate?”

“Looks blue.”

“Alright, now load up your MAGPIE, how many pins does that processor have that are FUBR’d?”

Koller had continued to worsen during the entire exam. The bleeding that Adam thought he had found earlier wasn’t actually as much blood as it was hydraulic fluid and thermal paste oozing from the damaged implant. He thought that was a good thing until Sarif corrected him. Deep brain implants were very delicate and still in the experimental phases. It was literally still his brain and it didn’t matter if it was blood or hydraulic fluid, not enough of either would kill him. Just what areas of the brain had the leads and how badly damaged were still unknown.

Prichard had been called to discreetly glean information by Sarif a few times during the flight already. He didn’t want either man know they were helping out on the same project- that would only cause added drama. So he kept Adam busy on the video conference by constantly checking on numbers as he would run to the cockpit to subvocally ring the other man in Detroit.

“Frank, me again. The fucking serial number has been filed off.” The pilot kept casting annoyed glances at the well dressed man but he was either ignoring them or didn’t notice.

“Without that number we have no way of knowing if the electrodes are embedded in the ventrointermedial nucleus, the thalamus, the globus pallidus, the subthalamic nucleus, or in various combinations.” Francis Prichard sounded bored on the other line. A luxury only he could afford in this crisis.

“I know. But we’re going to need another way of finding the electrode bouquet.”

“Then you’re going to need a MRI.”

Prichard was of course, correct. To know exactly where everything was they needed take a detailed picture and map it out themselves. But magnetic resonance imaging machines were huge- several thousand pounds worth of steel. Hospitals had them, sewars did not.

“CT and MRI scanners are going to be harder to find than this missing number. What about just finding one of each unit? We try one, and if that doesn't work than the other?”

The nasally voice openly scoffed. “That would be wasteful and unnecessary. If you pick the wrong one you won’t get another chance at it, and you know that.”

Sarif put his hands on his forehead and took a sharp breath in. Francis Pritchard wasn't interested, so he wasn't trying. The last thing he had was time or patience to suddenly be his boss again, but it was a skill that was called upon many times. He counted to five before his frustration died down enough to play Devil's Advocate. “So what, that’s it? Dead end, go home?”

Pritchard again scoffed his former boss but it was just to fill air while he pondered. “Well, .. I suppose there is always just reading his medical files? I’m sure what with what you’ve told me he didn’t have this done in a formal medical setting- so we rule out possibilities that way.” Sarif understood how he reached that conclusion but pressed him. “Why didn’t he have this done in a hospital?”

There was a clatter of quick keystrokes coming through as Prichard paused. “Ah, here. In 2014 a Brian Nettle was the first to officially receive this augmentation. They used it to restore brain function after Down’s had severely limited his intellectual abilities, and he went on to live a fairly normal life afterwards. In the wake of his success, the treatment was used to help other neurological conditions such as Parkinson's, epilepsy, dystonia, and cerebral palsy. The only other mention of using this technology out of the therapeutic world was rejected over and over again by ethics committees.”

Sarif thought he knew the answer, but asked anyway. “What other uses besides therapeutic and restorative ones are there?” His mentor, Hugh Darrow, had often talked about how overlooked the brain was when it came to augs because “everyone had a preoccupation with the limbs.”

“Well the big one outside of crowd control were to enhance already healthy brains. They wanted to take a combination of multi-core processors tied close to the human brain's own superlative multi-tasking capacity to break down the barrier between the commonplace hub designs and the human brain. In an analogy, instead of a relay-race where one participant is slower than the other, it becomes a ride on a tandem.”

“One more question Frank. Who is ’they’?”

Prichard groaned loudly. “You sound like Jensen.” Sarif’s lips curled into a grin. The way they bickered reminded Sarif of his siblings. They hadn't seen each other in years but always groaned about them dispeit their absence. “Darrow. It was Hugh Darrow.”

Sarif pulled out another wad of Omani Rials from his vest pocket and passed them to the pilot. “Prichard, I think I know what one we need to find.”

Chapter Text

He drug the bodies to the other side of the sewer, next to where Kamil’s had been laying for about week. Adam was sick of tripping over them as he dogged the various limbs hanging from every purchasable surface. He was also looking for an excuse to change his environment. The initial anger had Adam feeling confident as he stormed in and done what he did best- kill whoever tried to kill him. After several hours of playing a novice EMT and watching things go from bad to catastrophically bad he was feeling timid and beside himself.

It only took him a handful of minutes but it felt like forever when he swaggered back in. Koller was still in the chair but wedged onto his right side with a mass of pillows underneath him and the back of his head tilted upwards and highly illuminated from the surgical light above. Spare for a bundle of wires attached to his chest and forehead, he was naked from the waist up. He was unnaturally still, and giant blue/purple bruising was appearing all over. Adam winced at the fresh sight.

While being puppeted around by Sarif, Adam had gained knowledge of almost every item Koller had in his lab. He made his way over to the sink and began scrubbing out a white plastic tub with warm, soapy water. Well- he had to trust his sensors that it was warm really. It’s not like his hands could actually feel it. He felt even more depressed and pessimistic at that thought. He turned his attention back to his task and carried both the soapy tub of water and another filled with rags back towards his previous direction.

They thudded lighty as Jensen sat them on the ground next to the head of the Chair. Adam had a short, wheeled stool already perched just behind it to see Koller’s face. He dipped a rag into the water and began trying to dab the dried blood off. The muscles on his face were so relaxed that Adam needed to use one hand to hold the skin down as he dragged his other away; otherwise, he was pulling the skin with him.

On Koller’s forehead a thick scab was forming. It was right in the middle of his eye brows and ran from the bridge of his nose and into his hairline. It was easy to imagine this was his face meeting the floor after being shot. Adam saved that for last and kept surveying for more injuries. The blood had heavily crusted around his nostrils and in his facial hair but flaked off when Jensen tapped it softly. He wiped down the bridge of his nose and over his eyelids to clean up what had traveled from his forehead.

He threw the first rag into the empty bucket and grabbed a fresh one from the water. He went back to the gash on his forehead and started to dab at the scab. He didn’t want to dislodge it, just get it cleaned up around the edges. After Adam was satisfied it was good he reached a hand up to the metal cart next to him and managed to blindly grab several butterfly closures. He peeled the first one open and turned back towards Koller, and noticed the skin was still wet.

Adam finally saw Koller, not just looked at him. The pause made him drink it all in. His build was frail in comparison to the hoard of gangsters he had just dragged out. And while he was heavily augmentated, none of his were built for anything offensive. What hope did Koller have against Otar when he decided it was time to stop playing games? This had only happened in the first place because Otar was mad at Jensen and looking for revenge. He didn’t feel any sort of comfort knowing he was dead, facedown on Vano’s cock outside the door.

A sense of overwhelming guilt flooded through Jensen and he dropped his head soundlessly into his hands. Tears flowed down his arms and pelted against his pants lightly. Just inches in front of him Koller’s head hung in a stony silence, silently observing his breakdown. The monitor near the foot to the Chair still had an open vidcon with Sarif, who by now claimed to be above Hungary, but the chair it showed was currently empty. He had been gone more often now that he had what he needed to be prepared.

Jensen finally moved to wipe his face once he felt he had control again. The winged bandaid was still pinched between his fingers so he had to shrug his face into the collar of his trench coat to bat the water off. Even though he hadn’t made a noise during that moment it was very out of the ordinary for him. He then blinked hard to snap his glasses back down and refocused on the cut. In all, he put three butterfly closures down to make sure the ropey, wine red scab held shut. If it needed stitches it would have to wait until Sarif made landfall.

He stood up and made his way over to the green pullout in the far corner. On the back of it was a lightweight, brown blanket. Adam had seen similar ones at almost every budget hotel room he stayed in. He gathered it in his hands and retraced his steps back to Koller. While tucking it around the other man's shoulders, he leaned down towards his ear. “I’m so sorry, Václav.” Jensen made a very conscious effort to pronounce the “ts” properly. He stood back up and kept spreading the blanket out.

“I don’t know what deal you had with the D’Vali’s- but it’s canceled. I already met with the asshole’s that did this, but who did you say was really in charge? Radich Nikoladze?” The limp form didn’t offer any reaction. “I might want to met up with him later after all. I think that’s why Otar used you to lure me down here. . . .he wanted Radich out from the start... and knew you were the key to get it done. Somehow. Messing with you directly though was risky.

If something went wrong it might be traced back to him, directly. It was too big of a gamble for him to take, even for a betting man like Otar. That’s when “Good Intention Jensen” walked in through his front door. If I hadn’t tried to reason with a crook then you would probably still be….”

The bedside monitor was starting to sound off slowly, occasionally giving out a demure “boop”. Adam leaned closer to get a better look at it. The levels for his intracranial pressure and his oxygen saturation were holding steady, but his blood pressure and heart rate were both slowly on the rise. The ECG pattern still showed a 6.3 second asystole rhythm, but the beats at the end were looking stronger. Jensen looked down again. All outwardly appearances were still the same, he was limp as a rag doll.

“Keep talking to him son.”

Adam snapped his head around to see Sarif’s face once again on the screen. His eyes had lasered onto the bedside monitor.

“Sarif. How long-”

“Don’t worry about that, Adam. When you started talking he started perking up. Look, his pulse is almost breaking 45 for the first time since I met him! What harm could talking to the kid do, huh?”

Adam shrugged his shoulders defensively. “I don’t think that-”

“Come ooooooon Adam! If not for him or me, then at least for yourself." He mirrored Adam's previous emphasis. " Call me back if anything changes but we’re just about to touchdown outside of Brno. Prague apparently has me and every other aug on a strict no fly list- so it’s the best we can do. I need to pick up a “get well present” along the way too.”

The screen switched to off to transparency. Jensen shrugged his heaving shoulders again and thought about topics he could start talking about. For several seconds silence pushed in around around him, smothering his thought process. An idea suddenly popped into his head and he started to run with it.

“In 2028 Detroit, when Alex Murphy, a loving husband, father and good cop, is critically injured in the line of duty, the multinational conglomerate OmniCorp sees their chance… ”

Chapter Text

Terracotta roof tops zipped by as the train lurched across the countryside. David had his head resting on his hand as he lazily looked out the window. He was calm and collected on the outside but inside his mind was racing. What if he chose the wrong implant? What if it was too late, and the man was dead before Sarif got there? What if the gang that wanted this man dead came to investigate what happened to the hit squad? He had seen the bodies lying around the workshop. He knew what had happened without needing to ask for the details. Adam always had a bit of a temper.

“Is this seat free?” A short woman in a white trench coat was already sitting down. She had her face partially covered with her coat and her head was down, shielding her eyes with red and platinum hair. She had one hand steadying herself into the seat as the other cradled her swollen stomach. “It's a standard I.D.10T error.”

As David fixed his posture he felt a tap at his foot. This was the signal he was trying to nonchalantly wait for. “The problem is I. The B-KAC system.” The woman flashed him a smile with her steely blue eyes. The hand on her stomach moved into her coat. She fished around for a second then pulled it back out, holding something bulky. “The man in black fled across the desert.” She stood up and continued down the aisle to the next car. She had come armed with two things but only one had been physical. The other was information on the Santeau group.

David stretched back in a yawn and grabbed a package the woman had left it behind without a glance. It was incredibly glossy to the touch, about the size of a thick book, and heavy. It protested being slid against the fabric of the train seat but Sarif was stubborn and augmented. He pushed it behind him and to his left side before he finished the yawn.

The package was a metallic, black case void of any logo or company name but Sarif knew it was the deep brain implant he and Francis had been scouring for. The corners were rounded, giving it a pill shaped look, and had no textures to help hold onto it. Dressing up pregnant had worked for ShadowChild to transport it, but Sarif was sure to be stopped at the first police checkpoint if he tried that! Too big for a pocket and conspicuous to carry in the open, Sarif had engineered a solution at the previous stop. He reached down to the floor and grabbed the bag at his feet.

It has thick cloth handles- it’s why he had bought it. However, it was hemmed in the most violent shade of red Sarif had ever seen. On the sides it was plastered with giant, cartoon balloons of every color imaginable. “VŠECHNO NEJLEPŠÍ K NAROZENINÁM” screamed in glitter on top of it all. Some of the sparkly little flecks were already on the left side of his trousers.

Sarif removed a stuffed, double tailed lion and a card from the bag and replaced it with the implant. It slid in easily. Not wanting to trust something without a little evidence to support it, David lifted it slowly a few times to test if the bag would hold. It weighed a good seven, maybe eight kilos but it held. He put the lion on top and put it back on the floor of the train. More glitter fell off.

In his vest pocket he had always kept a small fountain pen, even back before he opened Sarif Industries. He loved he way ink flowed from the twin, pointed tips to make perfect eloquent lines. He pulled it out and swung a tray table down to his lap and started to fill out the card. It was never meant for anyone's actual birthday but it still needed to fit the bill.

“Happy Birthday Kiddo!

I can’t believe how big you’re getting! I didn’t know what to get you this year, so I bought you something I would have wanted at your age. Hope it fits!

Love, Uncle David.”

He then pulled out a 1,000 koruna note from his ever shrinking wad and placed it in the card before sealing it up. By renting a car and a driver, Sarif had hoped to simply skirt around the majority of the checkpoints in town but he couldn’t dodge them all. Just by scanning the crowds, Sarif’s implants would ping his location automatically to any police. “Use the sewers,” Adam had simply suggested. Sarif thought he had been sarcastic at first, but upon his first three minutes in Prague did he actually start to consider it.

“Nepovolaným vstup zakázán! Hand over your papers, clank.” It was so demanding that Sarif wanted to kick their faces in after the 50th time it happened. He kept his teeth gritted into a smile though as he moved forward with the crowd. The bag in his left hand could be a great weapon if it came to it, but only if it came to it. Best not to start something he didn’t have to.

“Mr. Freemen?” There was a man holding a sign with the same name on it dressed in a blue hat and tie. David had given his sisters surname. Thinking his name would be somewhat controversial to give out in Prague and really not wanting to add kidnappers and other conspiracies into the mix, he had just shot it out when asked for his name. David nodded and strode forward.

The driver himself was also augmented. Both of his hands had silver and chrome colored fingers that melted into brass hands and arms. The man went for the bag in Sarif’s hands but he pulled it back. “It’s fragile. I’d like to keep it with me, on my lap please.” This was against the New Rules: Aug’s couldn’t carry bags on any form of public transport. Hell, he couldn't even carry a lighter! Sarif had personally vetted the company before hand with the expectation the driver would show compassion. The augmented man nodded, much to David's relief, and then gestured towards a car parked half on the sidewalk. Streets in this part of town were so narrow it was the only way to keep the lanes open.

“Where can I take you to today?”

“I wanted to see that book store, The Time Machine? I think it’s in the Překážka district on the East side?” The man nodded again as he opened the door for Sarif. “Sure, I can do that.” The door clicked into place and soon the car was in motion. David craned his neck to see what time it could possibly be now on the dash. He had to have gone through at least five timezones by now…

It was 3:44 PM. The sun was being so highly filtered by clouds it could have easily passed for six or seven. David did a final runthrough of items in his head to stay focused and not get drowsy. Assess the damage to organic tissues and repair as needed/ability allowed. Assess the damage to the neural HUB and replace/reprogram as needed/abilities allowed. Sort through the wires and figure out what went where- and plug them into the right slots before time was up. He started to compile a code on his pocket secretary to sort through all the combinations of possible connections; try({except(catch; catch; catch; finally); code}) ….

When the car pulled up to the storefront smoke was still trickling out. David just stared blankly at it but vividly visualized throwing his fists around in the air. What the fuck had Adam really dragged him into?! Nothing was ever as simple as it should be when he was involved. The driver let a low whistle. “Well, guess you’ll have to ‘look for your book’ through the back door.”

“And where is that?”

The driver leaned over into the passenger seat and pointed to a manhole cover just outside the car.

“Oh for FUCKS SAKE. This is a 3,000 dollar suit!” Sarif grabbed the bag and bullied his shoulder out of the back seat and out into the damp night air. He took a second to light a cigarette with a cheap matchbox before calling Adam on his infolink.

“I’m here.”

Chapter Text

Funky synths hummed out a long repetitive pattern while a guitar, perhaps the only real instrument in the song, played above it. A man was occasionally shouting “Yeah!” or “Whooo!” but was otherwise it was very industrial and chaotic sounding. Adam Jensen didn’t care for whatever David had put into the sound system, but as Sarif said even while on the plane “the Driver picks the radio station”. “Driving” had been a term he invented and used frequently to mean “using the operating table”. Augmentation surgery looked more like an assembly line rather than an operating room- giant robotic arms fixed to a prone table driven by a person at hand controls.

The Chair was a bit different, but still had the same basic functionality. It allowed the Driver to connect directly into another person’s systems and operate the Chair with a modified controller. It looked a lot like twin arcade joysticks. Buttons, switches, and toggles ran down the insides of them and hand grooves were molded in. These were attached to a monitor, called the Smart Board, that was fully interactive. Each of the Arms had mounted cameras and tools then that the driver could individually call upon and view on the monitor to any size, dimension, resolution, or color schemes -all by voice control.

Unfortunately, what the Chair did not have was a completely flat surface. The most it could tilt back was 165 degrees. It was also designed to work on every part of the body- every part except the occipital lobe. The back of the head. Trying to find somewhere else to do it, like TF29’s medical wing, was rejected because of infection control. Koller’s head was still open, and sloshing around a sewer would kill him just as quickly as leaving him alone in the Dungeon. They needed to find a way to modify the Chair- or surgery wasn’t possible.

Sarif had an idea. He wanted to tie ropes from the head mount down to where the arms and footrest meet to make a net. They could then lie him face down comfortably and still be able to operate the suit of robotic instruments. He would be at an angle, but flat at least. Adam scooped Koller up over his right shoulder, carefully threading his arm in between the wires connected to the sensors. He hung limply.

Blood was still crusted in his curly hair, but Adam had done a fairly good job of removing the rest. As Sarif worked on constructing his sling, Adam gently rocked and swayed Koller. It was done either subconsciously as some primal urge buried deep inside all humans, or done on purpose to quell his own nerves. Talking to Koller was uncomfortable at first but since it did seem to have a good effect he had kept at it, reciting the entire plot of both Robocop 1 and 2. Now that he wasn’t alone anymore, that unease had crept back up and Adam fell into sober silence.

Sarif was busy talking though, mostly to himself. He occasionally would turn his head and call out a question, but would go right back into where he left off. “.... support the stereotactic head frame with that piece… aaaannnd…… should work.” The Chair was now wound in a meshed rope sling and had several surgical trays filled with equipment surrounding it. The bedside monitor was now dwarfed by another horizontal monitor next to it- the Smart Board.

“Alright.” Sarif stood back and admired his set up, fists resting on his hips. He had taken his suit jacket off and was now glowing under the powerful fluorescent lights in his metallic, gold shirt. Earlier, David had asked to borrow the doctors lab coat, not wanting to ruin the delicate fabric. Once he saw ‘what’ the doctors coat looked like though, he decided to just do the operation in his current attire. It wasn’t the heavy punk vibe that had been Sarif's deciding factor, it was obvious Koller had been wearing it up until recently as it was saturated in blood.

Sarif’s sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, giving Jensen a chance to notice both his arms were beautifully detailed in gold leafs just as his shirt was. He wanted to ask if he had the other arm augmented to help with his golf swing, but thought better of it. Pangea was still a touchy subject, even for Jensen. Besides being slightly more augmented than before, David also had more grey in his hair and deeper wrinkles around his eyes. Besides those superficial changes though, he was still himself.

“Alright, let’s get the Halo on him and then we can start.” The Halo was again a word he invented and only used in Sarif’s dictionary. It was the stereotactic head frame, the device that would be attached to Koller’s head that uses a three-dimensional coordinate system to locate small targets inside the body. Once a target was found, David could Drive the Arms and do whatever was needed- ablation, biopsy, lesion, stimulation, implantation, radiosurgery. . .

Getting it on was a tad tricky. Usually the patient was awake and alert, able to hold their head up. Adam had to sit Koller on the edge of the Chair and hold him up against his chest with one hand, and use his other hand to hold his head up by the crown of his head. Sarif was then able to position the mount around his head and precisely drill the four screws into his skull. The metal bars wrapped around his head at eye level and the posts extended just past the top of his head. After it was on, Adam and David laid the man out, face down, on the netting. The ropes creaked as they accepted the weight.

The Smart Board flashed to life and illuminated the room as David grabbed the controllers. “Ahoj. Jak se máš?” The robotic Arms came down from the ceiling at the same time as a woman’s voice was heard. “Mluvíte anglicky?” Was David’s response. A low chime came over.

“Hello. How are you?” The woman’s voice was back, but in English.

“Fine. Find an open connection port and show me what we’re looking at.” One of the arms spun to life and started to scan around the damaged hub. “What’s the point in that question, anyway? ‘How are you?’ This world..”

The screen started to light up the aug tree Koller had installed. It was easy to see he was heavily modified just from appearances, but just to what extent was now being exposed. Implanted Rebreather, Sarif Series 6 Energy Converter, Sentinel RX Health System, Focus Enhancement, and those were just the ones in English. Several others had lit up too but were labeled in some Asian script Jensen didn’t have a translator for. Sarif picked out one and blew it up to full screen. Кифопластика Vertebroplasty Calibrator. Adam moved to stand behind Sarif and pulled his shades back.

“Yea, it’s fried. The wet drives software is running properly but the hardware is toast. It’s too damaged to be repaired- it’s got to get replaced.” David looked down from the monitor to the actual damage. He had been holding out a distant hope that it was only going to be cosmetic and a quick reboot would be all that’s needed. What the Smart Board was showing him though was the vertebroplasty calibrator was still in fact online, just so badly corrupted it was failing to boot up properly, and attempting to reconnect every few seconds. He had to replace the deep brain implant- and had to hope he had the right one with him.

“But we already knew his hub was destroyed, what about ‘him?’ ” Adam was still looking at the screen, trying to make sense of it. David shrugged his shoulders and turned. “You know I’m not a brain surgeon here, Adam, but from what I can see this processor needs to go. Once we get the errors worked out of that we can see what other problems we have to deal with. If the leads are intact, and if the damage to the organic tissue can heal, then he might have a chance. I just don’t all the answers right now.” Adam’s eyes had gone soft. He glanced down quickly and and nodded.

David then started to slowly understand that the concern Jensen had for Koller was not entirely out of having a business relationship with this man, but a personal one. Adam was always a lone wolf, reclusive, and guarded. Seeing him getting mixed up in battles with government and corporate agencies was Adam’s normal. Seeing him mixed up in petty gang disputes and morally leveraging someone to fly halfway around Europe was not. He was in love again.

“I’m going to do the best I can for him.” Sarif resumed the grip on the controllers and the Arms again started to dance. Adam watched silently in the background as the surgery commenced. The Smart Board and beside monitor continued to display real time warnings that David swore off. For the most part though they stayed static as the Arms buzzed, hummed, and whirled about in aerobatic feats about the man's head. Adam watched them with morbid fascination.

Being augmented was never a choice he had made, and he still held resentment for it after all these years. However, the sight of a gold clad businessman intently scrutinizing lines of code as he operated a giant claw machine that could tumble and twist through the air like a gymnast while performing cybernetic brain surgery was… well. Beautiful. The music, chaotic before, had blended into the scene to make it seem like live action poetry. It wasn’t until the arm’s started to back the screws out of Koller’s skull and put the Halo aside did Adam realize the entire thing was drawing to a close.

He blinked himself out of the trance. The Кифопластика Vertebroplasty Calibrator was showing itself on the Smart Board as stable, but was still inactive. Sarif was typing vehemently at the keyboard with one hand, his other holding a bottle of Nupoz. “Adam.” He said still focused. “I’m going to need you to help hold his shoulders down. It’s going to be rough.” Adam moved up between the men and put his hands down on Koller’s shoulder blades.

“Three, two, one.” Sarif hit the enter key and the display flashed from the red INACTIVE screen to the bright green ACTIVE one. A nanosecond later the bedside monitor alarms were wailing in critical and Koller himself arched up against Adam’s hands. Sarif dove the bottle in between Jensen’s arms, down into Koller’s back next to his spinal aug. “C’mon kid push through it, push through it!”

Koller was now clenching every muscle in his face and vocalizing in a very guttural, raspy way. While Adam had his eyes fixed at the now animated Koller, Sarif’s eyes were trained on the aug tree power consumptions. Using a praxis kit to jumpstart Koller’s deep brain implant had caused a lot of stress on his entire system, and if it went more than 400% above what was considered “critical” then he would have to force a shutdown of different process tree’s to compensate for it. That would be risky, as shutting down the wrong one could kill him. Trying to avoid that, Sarif used the Nupoz as a buffer.

Garbled moaning became light, shallow coughing. “Turn him.” As his body was swung around the bedside monitor quieted back down as the stats approached normal. His lips were a light blue and his gaut eyes looked even more sunken, but he was breathing strong. His chest heaved with raspy intakes of air. Sarif picked up a small flashlight from a table nearby and pulled his left eyelid open. An acorn colored eye swam around in it’s socket to stare into the beam of light, reflecting the golden light of Sarif’s augmented hands. His pupil constricted on que, and David hoped he would find it’s match on the other side. He did.

“Václav. Václav. Can you hear me? Václav?” Adam’s forehead wrinkled into concern as his eyes glistened. David physically guided Adam away from the Chair then slipped an oxygen mask around Kollers head and tightened the green elastic by the ear. He next attended to the shallow puncture marks the Halo had left by swabbing the area with antiseptic and covering them with some gauze and tape. The other two, located on the back of his head in is hair, David skipped the gauze and tape and used medical grade super glue. The crimson gash above his nose still had the butterfly closures secured over it and seemed to be doing the job, so Sarif ignored it.

What he couldn’t ignore though was the red augmented hand that reached up and grasped onto his wrist. Sarif went to pull it off before it registered whom it belonged to. He paused. Adam moved back up and put a hand on Sarif’s shoulder but didn’t move any further.

“Nedotýkejte se mě.” The voice was muffled by the mask and drowsy but clearly punctuated.

“Václav!” An explosion of movement from behind forced Sarif off balance and he stumbled to the side. Adam, now beside the Chair again, grabbed the other man’s head between his hands and gently tilted his head up. Koller’s arms protested lightly at the new touch and repeated himself, “Nedotýkejte se mě. Ne. Nechte mě být. Ne, ne.” Adam pressed his body against Kollers and wrapped him in a hug, ending what little protest Koller was offering.

Sarif started to laugh in relief. It wasn’t five minutes after the reboot and already it was clear that the damage Koller suffered wasn’t as catastrophic as his estimates had been. Not only was he speaking in full sentences and responding to external stimuli, he was able to move his augs. What crazy odds! There had been so many wild assumptions made! If Prichard hadn’t connected the dots and given Sarif insight on which model hub they needed.. No. There was no sense in worrying about that now! He had done it! If they had chosen wrong then the reboot would have immediately crashed the entire process tree and they wouldn’t be at this stage.

Adam buried his face into Koller’s neck and allowed himself to cry for the second time that day.

Chapter Text

His fingers clenched at thick, coarse fabric with every slight movement he saw.  Not tightly, but just enough to reassure him that there was some, strong stable force he was connected to. His head was swimming- Koller’s eyes were open but frosted over like a lake in winter with pain, not really seeing. Even simply shifting his gaze was enough to make him nauseous, dizzy, and light headed. He didn’t remember why he felt like this either. It was too profound to be a hangover, but too debilitating to simply be a flu. Where the fuck was he? Who is that man in the corner? Is... he glowing? An instinct to fight or flee whelmed up inside and he knew he was in no shape to run, so fight it was. 

Even his machanical limbs ached but he started to lash out with them.  He watched shapes of people fuss all over him, holding him as still as they could, as he was attacked by needles and hands.  Someone must have given up trying to be polite about it and wrapped him in blanket before sticking him in between a vice grip. He kept blindly fidgeting against the powerful clamp until it asked him poliety to stop. The voice made him pause momentarily, it sounded so familiar. 

Lightning bolts shot from the base of his skull and raced down to his toes, making the now painfully conscious Koller cry out. He pushed his head deeper into the unknown but welcomed embrace to hide from the full wave of agony. After it finally passed, which seemed to last years but was probably only a few moments, he became aware that he was being lightly pet on the back and talked gently to in the same, soothing voice. 

The voice was definitely Adam Jensen’s- he could feel the gravel and the timber of his voice rumble gently through his own body, like standing next to the subwoofer at a rock concert. He felt comfort knowing he was close, snuggling in deeper into the embrace. He smelled faintly like cigarettes and whisky. The hand on his back disappeared and Koller wanted to yank it back, but it reappeared on the top of his head before he could object.  Adam's voice rippled across his body again. He felt his arms constrict. 

A sharp stab of pain entered his body but all Koller could muster to defend against it was a demure whimper. A second after, icey rivers ploughed into his veins and spread throughout his body before settling into a warm, hazy feeling. Morphine? The hand resumed rubbing itself on Koller’s back. Curious, he slowly tilted his head up to try and find who’s hand it was.

He could see a sharp chiseled jaw in front of him and a tuft of dark, russet hair covering it- groomed into a perfect triangle. Above it were a set of iridescent golden eyes keenly focused on Koller’s own. He knew he had seen those features somewhere at least once before, but was having trouble remembering where... As Adam’s voice washed over him he ventured a guess, “Jensen?”.

The voice continued on but didn’t Koller couldn’t understand it. Confusion swelled slowly. Why is Adam here, that is Adam right? Why does he feel like he was hit by a truck?... Something is on fire. Who the fuck else is in his Dungeon? Where did the D’vali gangsters go? What.. what was that smell? Did they ACTUALLY burn his bookstore down?! Wait, who was “they”?.... Who’s holding me? Who’s in that corner?! Let go! Get off of me! Let go, let go! He tried to fight free again. 

“Václav.”

Koller stopped and looked at the chin again upon recognizing his name. “Jensen.” He said it with conviction, like he could will it to be true even if it wasn’t. The chin nodded though and jumped down, bringing with it pink, thick lips. “It’s me, Václav.”

He still couldn’t fully understand what the lips had said, but he was now sure of who owned them at least. He let his head collapse back down on Adam’s chest and closed his eyes. He could feel more than hear the words continue to pour from Adam’s mouth. “Just relax. You’re safe, Václav. You’re safe. You’re safe… shhh… just relax...” A tick later, Adam felt Koller’s body again go limp as he drifted off, the morphine doing its job.

The smell of sulfur is what woke him hours later. Sulfur and cloves, to be exact. Koller let his eyes open lazily as he remained motionless to try and sleuth out it’s source. It was dark in his Dungeon, spare for a few distant LED’s and monitors glowing softly in the background. He could hear the small wheeze of Adam’s rebreathers as he inhaled and exhaled, Koller’s head raising and falling accordingly. He was laying on his side, his arms and legs pretzled around the augmented agents. He was always his favorite pillow, one of the only elements on the planet that could get him relaxed enough to sleep. In luie of a manufactured sedative, Jensen could use his naturally occurring pheromones to calm Koller. 

A yellow light flared from somewhere, illuminating the green haired clown painted above his pull out briefly, helping to orientate him more. It died out quickly though and and he heard someone whisper a cuss in English. Koller groggily tried to remember what that actually translated to in Czech. His head hurt like hell though. The yellow light interrupted Koller’s train of thought again and he could finally see where it was coming from.

By his Chair was a man’s silhouette. Outlined in a halo of gold light provided the numerous monitors surrounding him, Koller could see he was trying to futilely light a match. He remained still and kept his eyes carefully fixed on him. He would swipe and swipe at the strike pad but only get a spark before it fizzled itself out and the man would toss them to the floor, angrily. He watched this happen at least a half dozen times before he fully recognized what was going on.

Koller pulled his right hand out from under Adam’s side and raised it up as high as he could, barely a few inches. The movement though had attracted the silhouetted man’s attention and he started to quietly stride closer. Koller kept his hand and eyes fixed on him as he advanced and struck up his micro welding torch. The blue flame sprung from the shortened fourth digit, a line he created himself from modifying his circuitry from scratch, and beamed a blue light across the room. Adam was deep asleep, shades still in place.

The new man crouched down in front of the flame with a black cigarette held loosely in his grin. He took a few puffs before the red cherry was illuminated from within the tube and he pulled himself away. Koller recognized the face instantly as David Sarif’s. “You know,” a puff of white smoke appeared as he remarked, “you got some strange, fucking augs back there.”

Koller wanted to laugh, but could only manage half a grin. “I’ve seen stranger.” His voice sounded hoarse, raspy, and foreign to his ears. He let his flame die and tucked his hand under his own chin, gazing at the gold clad man before him. Sarif had taken to leaning against a pillar about five feet in front of them, keeping his voice and his profile low. “With the set-up you got here, I believe it.”

Koller’s memory surged back to the time he pulled a retinal aug out of shipping, the meat still dangling from the socket. He chose to ignore that one, but soon more and more were in his possession. He had enough when he received a youth sized full arm aug and in the palm was an arcade token. He never wanted to ask questions, questions were scary, questions were bad. Bad both for his conscious and bad for businesses. It seemed all a mute point now, though. He had a lot.

“You’re… David Sarif, right? What, what did Adam... The D'vali were.... Oh God. ”

David nodded and took another deep drag off his cigarette. “Yea. Some shit went down. But uh, how... How you feeling there, kid? You took quite the hit to head.”

Koller was reminded of the pain and it felt like it instantly swelled by a million fold. His temples pulsed with every beat of his heart, while his forehead was threatening to splice open and eject his brain onto Adam’s chest. This was all dwarfed in comparison, however, to the pressure he felt in the back of his head.

“I feel like shit, man.”

David nodded, understanding. “Yea, I can get that. Say, could ya tell me your name? First and last? ” Václav knew the line of questioning coming, he himself delivering it many times in the past. He blinked his eyes shut to regroup his thoughts.

“Václav Koller. It’s 2029. This is my workshop under my store in Prague. I have…. disagreements with criminal scum like the D’vali’s. I can remember -” Koller felt Adam’s frame stir lightly from under him, though his breathing stayed rhythmic and slow, “they set fire to my store.” Koller paused. His memory was cloudy yet, but the more he pursued it the more it became clear. He started to fiddle with a lock of hair between the augmented thumb and middle finger of his free hand.

“I was at my computer, doing some work... when the alarms went off.” He told the story to the best of his recollection. Three men had appeared out of a car and tossed molotovs into the open windows. The Time Machine was basically a tinderbox, with every book being a match head. The blaze had grown so rapidly that Koller had little time to do anything other than just react. He grabbed what pocketable possessions he deemed valuable and headed for the back door.

As soon as he had opened it however, there stood none other than Otar D’vali himself. He was about 30 feet away but that was still well within the range of the gold handled revolver he had in his hand. They had smoked the fox, Koller, literally out of his Den. The realization was humbling. Václav turned and tried to dive back in but it was too late. Otar was a good shot and his aim stayed true.

After a brief blackout, Koller found himself hostage in his own Chair. He was surrounded by thugs in red and black leather jackets, all carrying semi automatic weapons and busy gloating over some terrible deed they had just committed. Koller could hear a familiar, crusty voice over the celebrations. “What do you want Otar? Last time we spoke you said we were done.”

His heart dropped right out of his chest. Koller squinted through the blood that was pouring into his eyes and pleaded with the universe. This could not be happening, this could not be happening! “Jensen, JENSEN!?” Something heavy was driven into his chest, sending him back down into a tunnel of darkness. One of the last things Jensen had just told him was how “he didn’t want to identify his body at a morgue.” Ironic.

Finishing the story, Koller realized his back was again being gently rubbed. He looked up into the shadless eyes of Adam Jensen who was awake and by the furrows in his brow, angry. David Sarif had even postured up and started to pace the floor in small circles, perturbed by some of the details.

Václav tried to continue on into an apology but it was silenced with a piercing gaze from Adam. “They have to be sorry, not you. I think it’s time I pay Radich Nikoladze a house call instead of you.” Koller squeezed onto Adam with his entire body, afraid that was going to be his boyfriends solution. That was his solution to everything.