Leonis, 1:1, 2:14 - Roach Hotel - Black Flag

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Parker heard a rhythmic hissing and whirring sound slowly growing in volume. He eased his face around the edge of the concrete and rebar barricade to discover the noise's origin.

"Jesus!" Parker said and placed his hand over his mouth. There stood a mechanical terror parked in the middle of the street with its black chrome head and flickering red eyes looking in his direction. On the sides of the thing's 'face', two rotating discs with alternating pairs of perpendicular set metal teeth squealed to life. As the rotors began to turn, slight offsets in the planes of the discs created an opening and closing nightmarish mouth that chilled Parker to the core. He ducked behind the partition and hoped it did not see him.

The terrifying thing produced a rippling, electronic roar. It was almost as if whoever built this machine took every frightening noise from every horror movie ever made, chose the most disturbing, and created one sound out of them. Parker heard a rapidly increasing thumping closing in on his hiding spot. Clutching his bag and little Broadway to his body, Parker bolted with his pistol now in hand. He ran as hard as he could across the street and toward 43rd Street. He was not going to die like that.

Skidding around the corner of 7th and 43rd, the timbre of the pounding approach competed with the sound of Parker's own heartbeat reverberating in his skull. Whirring and hissing from hydraulics, servos, and motors grew in clarity and intensity. The air Parker sucked into his lungs with each breath became more and more shallow.

To Parker, the world had become pure fear. He turned and squeezed off three rounds from his pistol at the machine. Cutting left around a red brick building and away from the sidewalk, Parker did not let up, even after the clanking mechanical noise faded. Regardless of the cessation of the frightening sound, Parker was not going to fall prey to any sort of trickery by letting his guard down....not this time.

His suspicions were correct.

Standing on the opposing corner of 6th and 43rd there it stood again. This time the beast had blue eyes. Parker was desperately trying to avoid the onset of panic and sensed little Broadway was picking up on it. The kitten was fluttering around in the bag like the muscle in Parker's chest. The young man sprinted forward and then faked right. As the mechanical nightmare moved to intercept, Parker spun and darted left toward 44th  as if he were playing a game of football. It wouldn't give him much time, Parker considered, but maybe just enough to gain some distance.

The thudding resumed, but this time it seemed to be echoing. Parker didn't look back; he chose instead to lower his head and pound the pavement even harder. "Passing 44th...one more block," Parker thought as a pair of electronic screams erupted behind him...closely behind him.

<<*>>

"I told you he was one of them. UN Security said he triggered the original entry point alarms," Diane Moss said softly. She sat with her arms crossed, watching the live video on the overhead monitor. The show host tapped her bright red fingernails on her chin in rolling succession as if contemplating something. She stopped and sat upright as a woman with a headset approached her with a mirror. Producing a smile, Diane straightened the lapels on her black jacket, adjusted the shoulder pads, and brushed the lint from her sleeves.  "How do I look?"

A balding African man wearing a similarly tailored dark suit nodded in approval. He plopped down in the chair next to her and squinted under the bright spotlights. "Wonderful as always, Diane."

Diane leaned in and covered her face with an open hand. "And to think, Ronald, I was beginning to fear the public would begin to question the validity of our other...ahem, 'Agents'. I mean, it has been quite a while since we actually had three real ones to participate. Did you see how fast that one was running?" the woman asked, patting the large explosion of permed blonde hair covering her head.

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