Having a photographic memory is not an advantage right now.
I can remember everything I've ever read about being hung up by the wrists. You'd think it was harmless if annoying, wouldn't you - after all, gymnasts and kids playing do it all the time. I do it all the time - it's part of our basic agility training.
But only for short bursts. I've been hanging here for... ten minutes, maybe? Arms out near-straight, cuffs locked round my wrists, full crucifixion pose against the wall with my feet ten feet from the floor. What is this place - some sort of ballroom? The Spectrans below are having the time of their lives. They've done it. They've caught the Condor.
Eleven minutes. Birdstyle's helping, the super-fabric of my suit stiffening and taking some of the weight, but I'm having to divert serious amounts of energy through my implant to keep it that way. It's not designed for stamina. Explosive speed and strength are useless against restraints this solid. I know - I tried. Stopped when it was instantly obvious that all I'd do was tear my own arms off, probably at the shoulders, though maybe my wrists would have gone first. Since then, I've been bracing myself as best I can. Why did the owners of this place have to use gloss paint on the walls? There's almost no friction available for my feet. What I'd give right now for some nice woodchip wallpaper.
Twelve minutes. Breathing's not as easy as it was, my chest muscles have saved my shoulders so far but aren't going to last much longer, and my wrists are on fire - they'll dislocate before I suffocate. Not by much. Once they go, I won't be able to use my arm muscles to support my weight at all, my lungs won't be able to expand, and then it'll be quick.
I guess at least the idiots celebrating in the hall below me won't get to take their prize to their leader alive.
Breathe steady, I tell myself. Your only chance is to stay aerobic. I can operate anaerobically for a lot longer than most people, but even so, once I go into the anaerobic zone it's a slippery slope downwards. The only way I can stay aerobic is with help from my implant, and even then it's marginal. Just as well it wasn't Tiny they caught - he's stronger than me, especially upper body, but a whole lot heavier. Princess has the upper body strength of a young woman. A very fit and strong young woman, sure, but nowhere near the rest of us. Keyop's so darn small he could probably hang here all day laughing. Mark might do slightly better than me, though I'd never admit it. And now I've run out of people to distract myself with. This hurts. A lot. I'm really hoping that the new experimental bracelet functionality is working. My captors weren't gentle putting the cuffs on, and I did my best to stress the bracelet against the metal as they hung me up here. That should, should, put it into a mode where if nothing else happens for a few minutes, it goes into panic mode. Bird Scramble, here I am, I need help which I can't ask for, come get me. I can't remember how many minutes it takes. Probably hypoxia setting in.
My right wrist's definitely failing faster than my left. I'm using every trick I know to support it - I'm a few minutes from dying and finally I find an alternative use for the target pistol shooter's trick of tensing all the forearm muscles at once to lock the wrist rigid. Lucky it's my gun hand, I suppose, but it's also the one I broke in our fifth mission. Or was it the sixth? Definitely hypoxia. I always thought that wrist didn't heal to quite the same level as the other one, no matter what the medics told me. I'll never get to say "I told you so."
Or... is that a flash of white wings? Yes. And another one, further to the right. Dark green, over by the main doors. Yellow on the balcony. And the whoops of celebration turn to screams of panic as the Spectrans realise the rest of G-Force have found them.
Now all I need to do is not die while my friends finish the bad guys off. Fifty more breaths, I promise myself, and hope that it will be enough.