Leonis, 1:12, 2:15 - Roach Hotel - Noseeums

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Without warning, the airship lurched forward and then to the side, throwing the gangster off balance. He slammed into the door and cursed.

Kate grabbed the cat and rolled off the bed as Mr. Gold fired the second wildly aimed round from his primitive pistol. The projectile pierced the bedding where Kate once was, ejecting a plume of cotton stuffing into the air. The white fluffy material floated around the room like tiny clouds.

Theodore Gold tumbled into the room and dropped his firearm to grasp at the door handle, all in a failed attempt to keep his footing. He fell forward, face-first, and slammed his head against the side of an ornate wooden dresser. The gangster let out a grunt and rolled over with his hand to his head.

Kate spotted the axe as it slid up next to her on the floor. She snatched it up by the head and held the blade facing outward in her free hand, preparing for Gold's next attack. She watched the thug right himself and stumble toward her. In lieu of stability, he stopped and frowned as the airship angled to the right causing Theodore to slow his advance once again.

"Idiots!" he shouted. "I didn't say kill the pilot!"

With her ears popping from the sudden increase in elevation, Kate scratched at the floor with one hand to keep from slipping toward the killer behind her and quickly moved the other down the axe's handle. Kate lifted the tool into the air, slammed its blade into the floor just as the blimp angled up, rising higher. The room's larger furnishings shifted and began to slide past her toward the far wall. An end table fell over and smacked into Gold, hindering his efforts to catch up to Kate. Using the axe to crawl toward the bleeding Gerald with one hand, Kate clutched the frightened Baby in her other arm.

The moaning Gerald was nearing unconsciousness and had fallen from his chair. Kate was amazed to discover the man had somehow managed to wrap his arm around a pipe to keep from sliding, but she knew it was only a matter of time before he completely lost his grip. Kate needed to act fast and quickly turned her attention to his injury the wound in his lower right abdomen was leaking blood rather profusely. As the airship leveled off a bit, she snatched the cat's bag from beneath the corner of an overturned lounge chair, stowed the reluctant Baby inside, and zipped it up. Kate then tore off the lower part of her fatigue shirt and held it to Gerald's side. She placed his hand over it. "Hang on, okay?"

"Gun," Gerald said weakly.

Before Kate could grab his pistol, the airship pitched sharply to the opposing side once more and the unmoving Gerald slid away from Kate. She grabbed the man by his shirt collar, but his weapon slipped from his hand and skittered across the wood plank flooring toward Mr. Gold.

"Damn it!" Kate grabbed onto the metal pipe running the length of the wall to keep from sliding herself. She needed to maintain as much distance as she could between her, Gerald, and the dangerous thug crawling toward them on the floor only meters away.

The gangster spotted the alien gun and produced a large smile. He clawed his way toward the pistol and Kate.

Another unexpected adjustment and the dirigible leveled itself again.

Kate flew to her feet, pushing past the burning in her knee, and snatched the axe from the floor.

Gold rose to his hands and knees, and then dove for the pistol as Kate brought the axe down with all of her might. Theodore cried out as the sharp metal blade removed his hand at the wrist, splattering blood across Kate's face. She wiped the warm liquid from her cheek with her shirtsleeve, bent over, and snatched the energy weapon from beneath the severed hand. She spat on the screaming gangster, turned on her heel, and shoved the pistol behind her belt in the small of her back.

Although exhausted, Kate forced herself to limp over to Gerald lying on the floor. She could now see the full moon through the open door, the rocky satellite rising higher and higher in the distance, illuminating the nighttime sky; it was nearly free from the blanket of cloud-laden smoke and soon, they would be free of this world. Ignoring Gold's horrific screams, Kate snatched up the meowing, terrified Baby fighting to free herself from the bag and slung it over her shoulder. She then agonizingly attempted to lift Gerald to his feet. "Jerry, if you can hear me, I really need your help...please?"

"Okay..." he said weakly.

Kate felt the pressure on her shoulder decrease as Gerald stood under his own volition. The effort was weak, but enough. "Good job, my friend. Now, can you walk?"

"You sure are needy, woman," Gerald wheezed.

"Two more steps, Jerry."

"The Horologium, did you set it?"

Kate's eyes widened and she inhaled sharply. "No, hang on to me!" As she removed the first shift device, it buzzed. "Crap!"

"Hurry!"

Kate remained silent as she spun up both Horos to the same address. She shoved one in Gerald's jacket pocket, held her own shift device, and hugged the man tightly to keep him upright just as the second buzz began.

"Woman, whoever you are, you and your beau will die!" Mr. Gold shouted and ran at Kate and Gerald, clutching his injured arm in his remaining hand just as the airship tilted down and to the right. Theodore threw himself at the pair and all three tumbled over the railing.

Falling rapidly, Kate let go of Gerald and pushed him away. She punched Theodore in the face until he released his grip on her, disappearing into the cloud cover just as she and Gerald shifted.

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