Neon lights rippled along drifting shadows as Zero marked no less than a dozen Greyhounds circling them, ready to pounce. The pack of predators moved in cunning concert, a marked change in their approach from before. Without needing his analytical circuits to predict the matter, Zero was already intimately aware the Greyhounds would be better prepared for him this time.
“Hey Zero, we have some company,” Lexel pointed out, unsure what to make of the newcomers. “Didn’t they say we had earned our invite already? Wait; is it just me or do those look a little familiar?” Lexel watched the prowling shapes that moved around them in the distance and couldn’t shake the sinking suspicion that she had seen these hounds before.
“I am already aware of the present danger,” Zero informed her and as he did so Lexel recognized the various data feeds buzzing around her. She spotted the recalled image of one of the damaged dogs from the previous fight in the alley. That is where she had seen one before; these were the same kind of things that had attacked them in when they went on the run. But what were they doing here now?
“Well, we can trash these guys like before right? Let’s just add them to the scrap heap,” Lexel declared proudly. “Negative,” Zero replied instantly. “My internal reserves are nearing 43%; I lack the offensive capability to effectively handle confronting this threat. Without the additional burst-enhanced movement at our disposal we have virtually no chance against them in a protracted battle. Our only chance for surviving the encounter is not to fight, but instead to take flight.”
“You telling me you can fly us out of here? Wow, you must be some kind of super robot dog after all,” Lexel proclaimed. “You misunderstand, not aerial flight; our only odds for preserving our existence lies in fleeing. However if I make use of the rest of my reserves in a single massive discharge I may be able to propel us clear. The danger then will be in the fact that we will be at the mercy of our landing, we will have no control to compensate or adjust.”
“If you’re telling me our options is to face down these hounds while we are out numbered or make a long-shot leap to try to escape then by all means; let’s bounce!” If Zero said that he could not handle this rematch against these hostile hounds then after everything else she had to take his word for it. Besides, Zero had always been able to take a serious pounding; surely they could handle a crash landing if they needed to.
Angles and trajectories filled Zero’s mind as he calculated the optimal escape avenue. Thermal Talon’s charged into a bright orange glow in the jaws of the circling sinister sharks. Zero’s sensors exploded with the sudden surge of multiple moving targets all rushing at him. It was now or never, so without finishing his calculations he punched the full force of his thrust stabilizers to life and threw himself into motion. Compressed jets of air exploded out behind Zero as he roared into a run that carried him into a flying leap aimed to vault over the nearest ruined building tops.
Those brick clad buildings were coming up incredibly fast as Lexel watched through Zero’s enhanced perception overlaying her own. The world flashed a bright shade of crimson and Lexel realized an alarm was thundering. “Brace for impact; collision imminent,” Zero warned and Lexel instantly grasped what that meant. Without any more thrust to counter their flight they were not going to make it over the approaching wall. Instead they were going to go through it and down to whatever awaited them. “How in the world do you brace for an impact inside a robot dog,” Lexel thought to herself. Reflex prompted her to tuck her arms and legs in to form a ball and before she could question the impulse she soon found the armor that was Zero responding in kind.
Watching with a snarl upon his face Mr. Graves watched as Zero escaped him yet again. He seethed with a furious fire in his chest at the realization that his prey had not only managed to get away but had done so with a civilian child on-board. This was getting out of hand fast and had to be dealt with decisively. “Perhaps we should make sure our little friends have a fitting challenge waiting for them in the arena,” Graves mused aloud.
“Make the arrangements,” Graves told an orbiting Oracle droid. “We shall eliminate this problem not by hunting it, but by letting it walk right into its waiting execution.”