Cerberus pounded down the street, chasing after Big Red
. Trucks containing hooting Seventeens roared after them, guns firing. Danielle kept a frantic eye on her power levels as the pavement flew beneath the battlesuit's heavy feet, cracking the blacktop with each heavy footfall. In tandem, the titan and the truck lurched onto Western, weaving between dead cars. They had just finished the last of the repairs when the Seventeens had shown up and started chasing them--away
from the Mount, Cerberus noted with dismay.Big Red
squealed, tires smoking as Luke stomped on the brakes hard. Shouts came from the back as the guards were thrown forward. Cerberus tried to dodge and smashed her shoulder into the driver's side corner of the truck. Big Red
lurched, the fiberglass sides crumpled, and the battlesuit spun away, stumbling over a low sports car and crashing down on the sidewalk on top of a crawling ex. Her screens went gray for a second as the computers tried to keep up with the whirling images. Inside Cerberus, Danielle tried to clear her head. Even with the armor, it had been a hard hit. She blinked a few times and the suit tried to interpret the subtle commands, racing through a half-dozen views and status reports as it tried to get the cameras back online. The flashing screens didn't help her throbbing skull.
"Chains!" shouted Luke. "They've got the whole road trapped!"
A garbage truck shrieked to a halt on Western and a full more bullets pinged off her armor. On its grill, a dead thing twisted and pulled, its eyes locked on Cerberus. She tried not to look at it as the titan pushed itself back up on its feet, the cameras steadying. Another hail of shots rang out. Ty's neck flashed red and he fell back with a thud. Jarvis flung himself to the left just as a second shot sprayed part of his shoulder onto the back of the truck. Lady Bee and the rest dropped behind Big Red's
steel lift gate. Cerberus could hear them cocking rifles.
A hooded man crawled from the back of the garbage truck onto the cab. His hoodie was green, with a green bandanna tied over one bicep. His AK was held out, away from his body. Around his feet, the other Seventeens kept their weapons aimed at Cerberus and the once-again crippled truck. "Hey big girl!" he shouted with a grin. He gave her a lazy salute with his free hand. "If you all done running, mind if we talk a minute?"( Just a pleasant chat )[Text adapted from Chapters Twelve and Fourteen of Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines.]