Leonis, 1:1, 2:14 - Roach Hotel - Wherever They May Run

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Addy peeked through the dirty window of a rusting metro bus and watched a platoon of U.N. soldiers and the killing machine known as Berzerker exchange fire in the middle of Park Avenue. From this viewing location, she had been able to work out the shortest path to the escape route beneath the Waldorf that Rudy Fentz indicated might still exist. After one last glance, Addy stealthily backed from her well-hidden vantage spot inside of the bus, eased through the open door with her head low, and made her way toward a dark subway tunnel entrance cut into the sidewalk.

As Addy descended the stairs, she found Parker and Katie looking up at her from the darkness in anticipation. The woman sighed. "Okay you two, the show's about to begin and Parker, you have that cat wrapped up tight, right? I don't want you to open up that bag and find a dead kitty."

Parker lifted the flap of the overstuffed haversack, exposing a bundle of moving cloth and leather inside. He smiled nervously. "Me, either."

"That business is for you, not me. You know what I think about that damn cat."

"I know."

Addy threw a thumb over her shoulder toward the street above. "Okay, I hear Berzerker firing up. Now, be ready to run across the street as soon as it's over," she said quietly. The woman covered her ears and indicated to Parker and Katie they should do the same. She closed her eyes as the armored megabug began generating a shrill noise that grew louder and louder, echoing through the subway tunnels until it went above the range of even her extraordinary hearing. Suddenly, a blast of white energy ejected from the strange blue ring encircling Berzerker's round, armored body and rolled outward like an electric shockwave destroying anything in its blast radius. The ground encircling the explosion's epicenter quaked and the briefly illuminated former-financial buildings surrounding it rumbled as if shaken by Heaven itself.

"Damn it!" Parker mouthed, one hand each covering an ear. His face was a contorted mask of pain.

The half-Negexis woman nodded in understanding. When the event was over, she shook her head in an attempt to regain her senses. There was an awful ringing in her ears and a dizzying sensation generated by the energy blast fogging her brain. She glanced back at Katie and imagined it might be almost unbearable for someone like her. To Addy's surprise, the girl was still upright and seemed to be doing rather well. "Maybe that weapon was designed to affect Negexis more than humans?"

With a shrug of her shoulders, Addy motioned for Parker and Katie to follow her across the street. "Let's move before Berzerker gets going again. It's going to take a few seconds for that damn thing to fire back up and the U.N. is going to be too preoccupied with killing it rather than worrying about looking for us," she whispered.

<<*>>

Parker gave Addy a thumb up and they darted across the four-lane avenue attempting to stay hidden in the shadows. He noted several U.N. guards in white riot gear  scattered about, but as Addy said, they seemed more concerned with the unmoving Berzerker lying silently in the road like a metallic anthill than looking for them.

One of these soldiers stood from behind a concrete barricade and lifted his left hand into the air. "Ready! Aim!..."

            A muffled meow emanated from inside Parker's bag just as they reached the middle of the road."Crap..." he muttered and pulled the haversack to his chest.

"Over there! Did you hear that?" shouted one of the soldiers as they spun around weapons drawn.

"Damn your cat, Parker!" Addy whispered and indicated that the trio should duck behind the smoking remains of an old delivery truck lying on its side in the middle of the street.

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