Leonis, 1:1, 2:14 - Roach Hotel - R.R.O.A.C.H. Killer

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Parker landed on the R.R.O.A.C.H.'s mid-section and immediately began firing into the rear of the beast's head. Like an angry rodeo bull, the killing machine bucked wildly, throwing the unwelcome rider from its back and into the air.

Tumbling to the asphalt, Parker rolled to a stop. He watched Addy fire a few final electric blasts at the erratic killing machine just for good measure. The R.R.O.A.C.H. continued jerking about in the street in an uncontrolled fit for a few moments more and then stammered to a stop.

Parker ran his fingers through his hair and let out a sigh of relief as the glow of the beast's red electronic eyes faded out. "Finally..."

Katie rushed over to Parker with Broadway in her hands. She set the kitten on the ground to help the man up. Broadway immediately began rubbing his little body on Parker's shin.

Katie smiled at the small animal's cute reaction to its owner but the expression faded quickly as her eyes met Parker's. "Are, uh, are you okay, Mr. Raymond, sir?"

"Mr. Raymond?" Parker was even more confused now that the oddly familiar stranger stood even closer to him. "I'm fine, but...okay, why the hell do you look like Kate?"

Katie raised an eyebrow. "I am Kate...well, Katie. Katie Fentz, actually. Kate Summers, she was my mother. I know it's a bit confusing, but..."

Parker crossed his arms. "Confusing? You're damn right it's confusing! I watched Kate..."

"They're here! Time to run!" Addy yelled racing past Parker and Katie. "I said, run idiots!"

"Huh?" Parker had nearly forgotten about their much slower armored pursuers. He looked back at the U.N. troops racing down the street with weapons held at the ready. Their white uniforms were frightfully drenched red in the crimson lights of the city. Parker snatched up Broadway from the concrete and readied himself to run, but paused as he glanced over at the frightened face of the young woman calling herself Katie. "Are you going to be able to keep up?"

"I think."

"Then let's go!"

<<*>>

Beneath the oxygen mask remained the fading hint of a smile. The wired television remote slipped from Rudolph's open hand and clanged against the hospital bed's metal frame.

It was done.

"Karen?" A singular tear rolled down the old man's wrinkled face in one final symbolic race with the digital blip now drifting in a straight line across the droning heart monitor's screen.

<<*>>

The disheveled duo of Ronald and Diane cautiously emerged from their backstage hiding places to check out the crowds calmly spilling back into the studio; all eyes fixated on the screens.

"Um, Diane? Did you see that?" Ronald asked in a whisper. He pointed an index finger at the crowd control officers interspersed with the t-shirt clad studio audience. "That's the damnedest thing I think I've ever seen."

Diane crudely patted some errant strands of hair back into place and then adjusted her jacket's shoulder pads. "Well, I, for one, am going to go get this thing back under control...my control. Because, whatever this situation is, now, I want to be part of it."

A gasp suddenly rumbled over the audience followed by a roar of applause.

"Part of what, Di?" Ronald asked as he nervously eyed the motley assortment of cheering people, their joyous faces aglow from the electronic displays. "That Parker guy and the Negexis hybrid just killed the last R.R.O.A.C.H. unit and everyone is oddly happy about it...even the U.N. guys it seems!"

"So?" Diane asked with her hands on her hips.

Shaking his head, Ronald returned his focus to his pretty co-host. "So? What do you mean so? That's it for the show!"

Diane batted her eyes at Ronald. "Silly, it ain't over til' we say so. Now, are you going to join me or what?"

Ronald shrugged. He paused a moment, narrowed his eyes at his partner, and slowly began to nod his head. "Alright Diane, you're right. Let's finish this."

The sound of the overhead speakers crackled to life as the two Roach Hotel hosts walked out on stage and waved to the ecstatic crowd.

 "Hold on a sec! Who's manning Camera One? Two? We've got Camera Two? Excellent. Swing the cameras toward the stage...looks like we're back in business!" the director shouted over the intercom. "Three, two, one...roll the music!"

As Diane and Ronald made their way to their places on the circular stage, their earpieces buzzed awake with static followed by the disembodied voice of the director.

A smile began to stretch over Diane's face as she listened to the voice in her ear. "And the United Nations is alright with this? Really...okay. Works for me. You good with what the director is suggesting, Ron?"

"You bet I am!" Ronald threw a thumb up at the camera and performed his signature move, snatching the lowering microphone from the air. He grinned and held the device in front of his face. "Alright Planet Earth, are you ready for the best Roach Hotel finale, ever?"

"Yeah!!!" shouted the excited audience.

"Awesome! Well then, why don't we bring out Battlezone and Berzerker? At the same time!"

The crowd gasped.

"What about the U.N. soldiers in there?" One of the men in riot gear inquired. 

"And what about Katie!?!!" cried a woman from the darkness.

"What about them?" Ronald's toothy smile widened. "This is Roach Hotel, isn't it? Well, we all know the rules. When you're in the dome, It's every man, woman, and 'brid' for themselves...to the end!"

The studio audience glanced around at each other for a few seconds and then exploded into applause.

Diane gave Ronald a smile of approval. The bloodthirsty crowd was now theirs once again...not Parker's or Addy's.

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