Trials of the Cybermancer! – Chapter 19: Good Exercise Time

Running was never my strong suit, and I was never a particularly athletic individual. When I first encountered R8PR over a year ago, I was changed, enhanced from my original body permanently. I gained extraordinary strength, accelerated healing, quick reflexes, and a tenacious attitude. But one thing I did not gain was stronger lungs.

I really wish I had better endurance when it comes to sprinting.

But I don’t, and right now I’m fairly close to collapsing on the ground and dying.

It’s been a good twenty minutes of running through the streets (I’m glad this is mid-day and not the evening or it’d look a lot more conspicuous for a lanky young adult in casual clothes to be sprinting with some robots running just behind). I haven’t looked back to see just how close those robots are, but I most certainly cannot let them catch up, because if they do I’m probably dead.

And where I’m headed, they probably don’t want to follow anyway.

Isn’t it really fitting that the one time I get a glimmer of hope, it is immediately dashed away by way of being beaten up? What reason in the world did I have to trust that Moonslash was really going to try and make some sort of peace deal?

It’s really killing my reputation to keep having my ass handed to me in all these fights. Will there ever be a time when I can boast about doing really cool acrobatics and kicking bad guys in the teeth, or am I just going to get beat unconscious every time?

Now there’s only one thing left for me to do while running away from certain doom– thwart Moonslash by beating him at his own game. There’s only one way to solve that that I can think of.

Clear in my mind is the address of one “Max Gibson,” one of the names listed that purchased my personal data from the Data Broker. Without being able to check ino that any further than the fact that it’s some random apartment on 4th Street, I’m following my hunch and hoping desperately that this turns out to be Moonslash’s own place. While he’s at that meeting with Chuck, I’ll wreck his shit up. Probably literally.

Will that actually solve anything? Not sure, but at a bare minimum I may be able to find out some valuable information that will allow me to defeat him in an epic final battle.

I finally reach the apartment complex.

The robots seem to have lost me at some point in the last few minutes; maybe they got stopped at a crosswalk or something and got too confused to continue. But I’m sure they still have my scent, so I’d better be very careful.

Even though this is on the fourth floor, I crawl around the edge of the building and enter the apartment room from a side window that is slightly ajar, leading into the bathroom. Thank you Atlanta weather and thank you poor central heating and air standards.

Right before I enter I look down to the ground floor and see a couple robots walking around. I can’t be certain that those are the same ones that were chasing me before– there’s only a few models of commercially-available robots so they all friggin’ look the same– but I don’t want to take any chances. I hurry in before they look my way. Never gonna be too careful here, because this room might be booby-trapped or something. I really don’t want to get killed while breaking into someone’s house.

Moonslash is presumably still at Chuck’s shop, pretending to patiently wait for my non-arrival before he can make some dramatic decree about how my absence allows him to friggin’ gut me like a fish or something. It’s a pretty solid plan, if I do say so myself, and one that R8PR would probably go on a whole lecture about. Being a criminal mastermind really has its pluses sometimes.

I slowly open the door bathroom door–

It creaks open loudly, and I try to shut it again, but it’s just as loud. I let the door rest halfway and squeeze through the gap.

It’s quiet in this apartment. I had half-expected some robot guard dogs to attack me on sight, but there doesn’t appear to be anything threatening so far. All I can hear is some old TV program playing in the background a few rooms away, with rousing cowboy music playing triumphantly through some tinny speakers.

Down the hallway, I get closer to the living room and the sound on the TV grows louder. I think I’m going to–

And there’s a kid standing there. Maybe twelve, thirteen, pudgy with glasses and short, messy hair. A young boy.

“Oh, are you here for my Dad?” he asks.

 

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