18. We Built This City

Although not everyone was willing to break the strike, Leon and Daley manage to get enough officers together to go into the Totem Pole. Whilst Daley handles communications from the outside, Leon and the others make their way through the sewers to the loading dock at the base of the building.

After blowing the bay door open, Leon is ready to go inside- and he isn’t the only one. Priss and the Moto Slave aren’t about to stay out of this, and after urging Leon to hop on, she drives into the building, searching for her fellow Knight Saber.

Nene isn’t doing so well. Trapped between the fire doors, all she can do is wait until the boomers come to her. Fortunately, the first ones to find her are Nick, Yano and Haruma, complete with a K-suit that Nick found in maintenance. But any joy at reuniting with the others is soon forgotten as the boomer army catches up with them once again, fusing through the very metal of the fire doors. With their ammo running low, the group are forced to retreat from the advancing boomers- a retreat that soon becomes impossible when they find themselves surrounded on all sides…

Having reached the lower levels via the freight elevator, Priss and Leon arrive on the scene just in time to save their friends with some well-timed shooting. Whilst Priss and Nene take off on the Moto Slave to clear a path, Leon stays behind to help the others keep the boomers at bay whilst they get out on foot. What they don’t yet realise is that outside, a wall of boomers has fused across the loading bay door. Their escape route has been sealed.

Things aren’t going too well indoors either, with Haruma’s ammo running low and Yano forced to rely on an axe. Matters take a turn for the worse when a mad boomer latches onto Nick’s K-suit and begins fusing with it. Unable to get out, Nick is forced to watch as the boomer takes over the K-suit- until a well-timed blow from Yano knocks out the monster. Finally able to release himself from the suit, Nick gets clear and the group carries on towards the exit.

Smashing through the boomers, Priss manages to clear a path, but at the expense of the Moto Slave, which crashes just as she reaches the freight elevator. Priss almost becomes the boomers’ next victim herself, until a well aimed shot from Nene takes out her would-be assailant.

With the path clear, the others soon catch up to Nene and Priss, but the boomers aren’t far behind. Forced to leave the Moto Slave behind, the group jump into the freight elevator, but safety is further away than they think. Having finally made it to the exit, they discover the fused wall of boomers. Not only is the wall impervious to gunfire, but a whole new load of boomers soon come boiling out to meet them. The group have only one option- to take the access shafts up to the higher levels and search for another exit.

Outside, the other ADP team has lost contact with Leon, but on the plus side, they have taken control of the main power grid. On Daley’s order, they fire up the power, enabling those inside to see just where they are- and to see the liquid mass of boomers boiling up from below. The only way out is to go up through the levels housing the communications system and its liquid nitrogen coolant tank.

As Daley tries to puzzle out just why the boomers would want to move upwards, he finally receives a message from Leon. With the boomers steadily rising, he and the others are forced to climb another access ladder. There seems to be little Daley can do to help them, at least until Sylia, Macky and Linna show up. Together, the four decide to take a helicopter and pick their friends up when they reach the roof.

Inside, it soon becomes clear that the boomers were never following Priss and the others at all- they were going after the communications system; with its capabilities, the boomers will be able to access every computer network in the city. Even as they head for the roof, Nick realises that they are going to have to stop the boomers- and he might just have a plan.

Watching from the helicopter, Daley and the others can only look on in horror as a mass of boomers surges up the sides of the Totem Pole. With the boomers covering the whole building, he can’t even hope to land the helicopter and pick up Leon and the others. Everything now depends on Nick’s plan.

Whilst Nick covers him, Yano activates the coolant and begins running liquid nitrogen into the systems. Haruma’s remaining explosive shells are taped to the coolant pipes; using a remote detonator, Leon sets them off, rupturing the pipes and causing the nitrogen to boil out, thus freezing the tower and the boomers. The day is saved, but at the cost of both the Totem Pole and the future of the ADP.

Meanwhile, at Genom Tower, Quincy plots to put Mason in his place, but even as he lays his plans, Mason’s secretary boomer enters the room, and in defiance of Quincy’s programming fail safes, goes straight to his life support machine and rips out a vital conducting wire. Their experiment with the Totem Pole may be over, but for Mason and Galatea, “playtime” has only begun…

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