He didn understand how it was possible for his mind to have so much theoretical information, and random pieces of knowledge, but no memories of himself — of his life.

But he didn have long to stand there in shocked contemplation.

”Get dressed, ” Davi hissed, a muscle in his jaw jumping.

He was getting real tired of this guy barking orders at him. ”Cool it, circuithead, ” he snapped, repeating the insult Alina had thrown at Davi before.

She snorted under her breath covering her mouth with the back of her wrist, but Davi had no reaction beyond the flare of his nostrils.

Ivo slipped one leg inside the shirts collar and then the other, stretching it beyond repair. It was hard getting it over his thighs, but the material had enough give. He hiked it up to the jackets waistband, barely covering his navel, and tied the long sleeves in front of his waist.

Alina hummed thoughtfully, looking Ivo up and down. ”Fuck me, that looks mag as **. Why didn I ever think of that? ”

”He still doesn have any shoes, ” Davi said.

Alina snorted loudly and raised one of her booted feet towards Ivo. ”Can you walk in platforms, dollface? ”

He eyed the huge, thick soles and the many buckles of her boots with a deep sense of intimidation and shook his head.

”Thats what I thought, ” she said, turning to Davi with a smug smirk.

Davi shrugged and turned back to the door. ”Then I guess hes going barefoot. ” He peered through the glass panel for a moment longer and then said, ”Ok no ones here, its now or never. The comms are still down, and I can get Yunmi on the line so well have to dodge any security cameras or drones coming our way because we can be sure shes following our position and clearing a path. ”

Ivo was hit with a sudden wave of trepidation. He didn know these people. Where were they taking him?

”Why should I go with you? ” he asked, stepping away from Alina.

Davi spun on his heel, the soles of his combat boots squeaking on the metal floor. ”Because, circuitbrain, its leaving with us or going back there, ” he said, pointing at the box Ivo had crawled out of. ”You want to stay here and trust that the people who put you in there have good intentions? Be my **ing guest. This job is **ed either way. ”

Well, when he put it that way, Ivos options were rather limited.

He swallowed his pride, and grit out a, ”fine, ” stepping in close to the door, Alina behind him, waiting for Davis cue.

Ivo was so tense, and so aware of the frantic beating of his heart, that it was a little anti-climatic when the door opened into a non-descript hallway. All around them were smooth panelled walls, humming faintly with the circuitry hidden beneath. The entire place had a sterile quality to it.

They walked slowly, backs pressed against the wall, Davi was holding a gun up close to his face. Alina walked behind Ivo, her hand ready on the hilt of what he knew was some kind of machete or other heavy blade, hidden inside a black scabbard attached to her hip.

Ivo stayed between the two of them and did the same as them, moving when they moved, and ducking when they ducked. There didn seem to be anyone else on the floor they were in, but he could see the tense line of Davis spine. Something really bad would happen if they were caught.

”I can see the door leading to the terrace, ” Davi whispered, going still and peering around the corner at the stretch of empty hallway and the glass door leading to a slice of blue sky. ”I say we make a run for it. ”

”As good a time as any, ” Alina said, sing-song.

Davi took off running towards the door, gun in hand, and Ivo shot off after him, gaze fixed to his back and the stretch of bare, inked skin he could see with the flapping of his jacket. It was hard to run in his makeshift skirt, the movement of his legs felt restricted and awkward.

He could hear the thump of Alinas thick boots behind him, the soles hitting against the vinyl flooring with a screech.

Davi was almost at the glass door when an adjacent panel slid open, a man walking out of a room followed by the loud sound of an automatic flush.

He was distracted, whistling a tune to himself as he wiped his hands on the rough material of the protective vest covering his meaty torso. One side of his face had no skin, only gaping circuitry blinking directly into the optic implant that housed his right eye.

The lower half of the mans body was entirely constructed of dark, dull metal. His artificial knees were bent forward and his calves arched backwards, like some king of animal. Ivo got the impression he would be a fast runner.

He noticed their presence at the exact time Davi raised the gun towards his head and fired a single, muffled shot, into his remaining organic eye. The back of the mans head exploded in a shower of blood, splattering against the white panel behind him. He crumpled to the ground with a heavy clunk.

Davi leapt over his body casually, diving down to take a security card from the front pocket of the mans vest. He swiped the card against the glass door which slid open with a woosh.

Ivo didn look down as he jumped over the dead man. He had the impression his optic implant was still rolling around in the socket, looking for the culprit of its hosts demise.

Outside, the sound of the wind was deafening, but the view was breathtaking. Ivo gasped as he looked at the towering buildings all around him, closing in like giant fingers of concrete and metal, its knuckles flashing up and down with blinding neon light, fingertips sharp as glass.

What he had initially thought was a slice of sky, was actually a gigantic billboard projected onto the empty space above the skyline, showing a woman crawling on all fours and licking something off the ground. Unlike the bright colours of the advertisement, the sky was a steel grey.

Ivos mind reeled. He came to a stop at the edge of the balcony, dizzy with how high up he was.

”Welcome to the city electric, the city bizarre, the city magnetic, ” Alina said from behind him, voice ringing with adrenaline. ”The city that never dreams. ”

A warm, broad palm pressed against the centre of Ivos back, startling him. ”Welcome to São Paulo, ” Davi whispered into the back of his neck, hot breath prickling the skin.

And then he pushed him.

He pushed him right off the ledge.

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