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[Part 2] 22:53:43 // 03-JUN-2042 - Continued

The silver doors sealed behind him and a burst of frosty air swept over his body, frozen fingers invading his clothes and tickling his skin as though searching for something. He looked up and then, overcome by vertigo, dropped his gaze immediately back to the gleaming floor. The lobby seemed to be alive, like he had walked into the innards of a giant metal beast. Furniture flowed seamlessly into the walls, which arced up into hallways that branched off like arteries. Three mammoth, bone-like supports stretched up and merged with the distant ceiling. A horseshoe of elevator shafts rose like a spinal column in the center of the room. And, most disconcertingly, a rippling gradient of light radiated from the surface of the walls, from floor to ceiling—as though the room was breathing. 

Klaxon’s image was everywhere, shining out from the walls and on holograms striding across the floor. Klaxon in an open stadium, holding a microphone to his lips, surrounded by a million screaming fans. Klaxon walking with the Pope. Klaxon teaching a group of kids in sharp new uniforms. Klaxon looking pensive as he sat with the President, chewing on the end of a pen. There was no mistaking who lived here. And every shot of Klaxon’s perfect face was a reminder of exactly what the stakes were. He’d never get this close again.  

Len’s cover ID must have worked, because no one ran to intercept him. As a matter of fact, the lobby was completely deserted, except for a young man behind the reception desk. His projection lenses were the same silver color as his suit, which was the same color as everything else around him. Dodge had assumed the place would be lousy with security and scurrying minions, that he’d be strip-searched and questioned, but so far it had been easy. Too easy. 

Where was everyone? 

The clerk kept his eyes fixed on the doors while Dodge approached, as if expecting someone more important to enter at any second.