MWADI WICKERSHAM WAS CHUCKLING.
"Damn, look at those heads. That stuff worked too good."
"Run?" Futura asked.
Her broad shoulders shrugged. "Looks like it. You take Mandy, I'll grab these two. See you at the factory. Lights!"
Seconds later the long banks of movie lights all switched off, and once again I couldn't see a thing.
"Come with me, kids." A strong hand grabbed my arm, lifting me to my feet. Then I was running, following the sound of roller skates on concrete, in the wake of an unstoppable force that brushed aside invisible obstacles. From behind us came shouts and crashes as our pursuers stumbled through the hodgepodge of movie sets and lighting. The Jammers were barely visible—a swift, silent horde marked by bobbing flashlights in the dark.
I heard Jen's breath next to me, reached out to feel for her hand. We steadied ourselves against each other as we were led around a sharp turn, then pushed up a ladder, Wickersham's skates clanking on metal rungs behind us. We stormed along the catwalk, then through a door high in the wall. A long hallway opened up before us, dimly lit by a row of dirty skylights, leading to a window red with sunset.
Mwadi zoomed around us, shot ahead on her wheels, and had the security gate open before we caught up. She pulled herself out onto the fire escape, and Jen and I followed. Our combined weight tipped the ancient metal stairs into motion, Mwadi clunking down them as they swung to ground level on a wailing, rusty hinge.
Hitting asphalt, she skated furiously around the corner. Jen and I looked at each other.
"Maybe we should escape now," I said.
"We are escaping."
"No, I mean escape the anti-client."
"They're called Jammers, Hunter. Weren't you listening? And we don't have to escape; they want us to work for them."
"What if we don't want to?"
Jen turned and dashed after Wickersham. I couldn't do much but follow.
Around the corner Mwadi was zooming up a handicapped ramp to the sliding door—we had circled back around to the sound-stage entrance. She rolled it shut, closed the massive padlock hasp, and jammed her flashlight into it, leaving the hoi aristoi trapped in darkness.
"Lucky all that stuff's rented," she said, rumbling back down the ramp. She looked at an empty limo waiting by the door. The driver must have been inside the building with his employer. "Either of you know how to drive?"
She shook her head. "Damn city kids. I can hot-wire, but I hate driving with skates on."
But Jen was already opening the driver's-side door. "It's okay, I've played tons of…" She mentioned a certain video-game franchise with the same name as the crime we were about to commit.
"Good enough for me," Wickersham said.
Already outvoted, I got in.