The advert for Zeiss optics was looping – or at least the uncorrupted part of the media file was anyway. A thirty second hymn of luxury visuals reduced to three or four seconds of a focusing and refocusing artificial eye in a flawless model’s airbrushed face.
Aaron watched the loop for a couple of iterations before turning his attention back to the wreckage of the rest of the station platform. Dust hung heavily in the air, particles of ceramic and brick dust wreathing the surviving light sources and turning torch beams into ethereal wands that flickered from surface to surface in their bearers’ hands.
The sound of sparking electrics from ruptured conduits, and of groaning metal twisted and pressed into unexpected configurations covered the sound of his footsteps. He made his way towards the exit stairs ahead of the search teams still approaching from further down the tunnel. He picked up his pace, eager to be already of use by the time they got here.
Ahead he could hear movement and cries both for help and of alarm. The bark of gunshots punctuated the confusion too. Aaron tilted his head to try and work out how many people were shooting, but the acoustics in the stairwell defeated that notion.
There was no option but to move into the concourse. Bodies could be made out across the hall, and Aaron stopped to see if there was anything to be done. There wasn’t, but he had to check anyway. A new set of priorities now presented themselves.
Ahead of him, two gunmen had re-entered the area. They seemed to be wearing some kind of paramilitary uniform. Aaron noted the common elements and decided that the lead figure seemed to be in charge. He rose smoothly to his feet and turned to face them.
“What the hell?” One of the gunmen raised his firearm instinctively at the sight of him. Aaron wasn’t given to introspection, but was unsurprised. There weren’t many units like him in operation yet.
“My name is Aaron. It stands for Advanced Artificial Recon Online Neonate. You will stand down now.”
Two shots impacted his chest and he advanced. He tried to explain his next actions. “I’m afraid, to safeguard the team behind me and any survivors of your attack, I must now engage you. Please do not resist. You will be taken into custody.”
They resisted anyway, for all the good it did.