Chapter 25

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Runt hung quietly from the I-beam, trying not to pant as his lungs burned and the police below him listened.

Through the vent, he could see the tasers already out and shouldered.

He shivered.

His last easy exit was definitely cut off.

Runt carefully released with his right hand, and moved it forward, inching along the I-beam towards another vent. One that led to a darkened room.

And maybe some sanctuary while he plotted a new course to freedom. To life.

He silently edged over to the vent, and pulled the cover off quietly.

Runt dropped into onto the floor in the dark room. His pupils widened, the darkness brightening slightly. Enough for him to see.

Shelves of boxes and bags lined the room, and nothing much besides shelves and boxes greeted him. A heavy, locked door was at his back, and that meant safety was around him.

At least, for a moment.

His mind started to race as he looked around, wondering what he could find in the boxes. Evidence could include a thousand things, from guns to bullet-proof vests to...

His heartbeat slowed, relief pumping through his chest.

A familiar shape stuck out to him in the dim light.

His armor.

Runt lunged for it, ripping off the evidence tag and starting to slide his limbs into the gauntlets and greaves, while his fingers caressed the chest plate.

The armor was shock proof. Almost totally. Even a Taser wouldn't get to him.

Runt clicked on the helmet.

A moment later, the heads up display came online, the cheerful computerized voice greeting him.

Hello, Runt. Welcome to your suit.

"Computer get me out of here." Runt choked.

A half-second scan on the room initiated, followed by a cheery reply.

Exit routes calculated. Would you prefer discretion, or direct?

"Discreet." He said.

Without a word, his heads up display lit up the door with a glowing outline. It was going to lead him as far as it could.

Runt felt his muscles quiver, hope and tears rising as he realized there was a chance, just a slim chance that he might just make it out alive.

The door clicked open, revealing what Runt remembered of the inside of the station. Cavernous halls lines with pipes and strung with wires, old, greenish LED lights flickering behind their protective cages. The dingy concrete floor didn't betray the echo of boots, letting Runt know he was clear to proceed.

And proceed he did, snaking his way through halls and caverns, sneaking between service corridors and deflating himself to fit between pipes.

He kept moving, silent and shaking, until his suit's heads-up blinked, highlighting a final objective, then went out.

He was back on his own.

But he was close.

The final objective, a door down a hall. And next to the door, the universal symbol for stairs. A way out.

Runt's heart soared, his instincts jumping into gear as he glanced over his shoulder and made a dash.

But he didn't make it far.

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