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Just Keep Runnin'

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Just keep running. T’s the roadrunner way. Up the path, through the streets, streets suspended thousands of feet up and glowing like the sun literally doesn’t shine. Buildings right out of a Tron-movie mashed up with some cheesy science-fiction entertainment. Maybe she’d be impressed if they were practical, but really, it was hard to tell any of these buildings apart. Acmetropolis, did they call it? How did such a loathsome corporation come to rule the world?

Phew. You might be wondering what all of the criticism is about, well whoop-do-doo. The creature speeding down the freeway at near sound-barrier breaking rate would tell you, but they’re a little preoccupied right now. The city, yes, scanning the city. And being chased in the meantime. The facility she’d escaped from was made of grade-A cardboard when it came to escape-savvy scientist birds. Such as herself.

So a roadrunner is well, running down a futuristic freeway trying not to hit cars, people, and trying to escape the authorities. Throw in that this roadrunner isn’t shaped like the rest of that kind in the year 2772. Sprinkle in some cryogenic preservation technology, AKA Freezing, and the untimely interruption of such. Cue the entire scientific community freaking out over a ‘pre- evolution’ road runner and, and then all of them and their dogs wanting a blood sample to study.

With the roadrunner so far?

She’d woken up, and the world was unrecognisable. It wasn’t even called a world anymore. It was a ‘city planet’. She could see no grass, barely see the sky through the towers, skyscrapers and various hover-cars. It was night and yet the city was blinding. A sigh, then a fast turn to avoid a startled taxi-driver. A zoom and she was leaping onto an intersection below this suspended road. Did this city go on forever?

Hmm, seemed she’d lost the police for the time being. Now, what was there –

“Uhhh...hey there!”

A red blur was following her. No, wait, coming to run beside her, flanking like a reflection. She didn’t break her gait but turned her head, uncertainty clean on her face. The figure focused, and...oh.

The head and feathers said ‘roadrunner’. The familiar beak, sharper by far when compared to hers, dyed red by some strange hue device. Blue eyes, spikier plumage. The resembles between them ended there. Her body, long-necked and rounded, his...very human like, if leaner. All it took was...six hundred years.

He looked as befuddled by her appearance as she was his. “Uhh...where’ya goin’?” He asked, in a quick, speedy voice. She almost didn’t catch it. She cocked her head to one side,

“Oh, you know, away from needles. So. Roadrunner.”

“Yeah. Well, nowadays one. I didn’t actually think – well, seeing you know it’s obvious, and in books and such, but it was hard to believe –“

“Evolution is...odd.” She noted. “Though I’d say human enterprises and human-based chemical products leading to waste would lead to other sentient species become more human-like has something to do with it. Maybe something in services, products, you know...”

He blinked at her in bemusement. “...You should meet a friend of mine.” He remarked as they sped side-by side down the now emptying street. That didn’t go unnoticed to her, by the way. “He talks just like you. Where you a – scientist or something, before?”

“Hmm-hmm.” She saw no reason not to be friendly, though her mood was still... on the fence. She tried to ward off the unease of the situation. She’d known what she was in for when she signed up for the suspension...

“Look, stop running. Let’s – talk.”

“I won’t be strapped down to a table.” She cut in, a little more firmly. He grimaced.

“My friends and I aren’t like that, we can protect you!” He smiled. Wasn’t he darling, and oblivious? She couldn’t help but find it endearing, so she smiled back almost sadly.

“Sorry, friend. But I’ve got...work to do.”

She turned to face on ahead and leaped onto the next lower road, long legs giving her a boost, and he watched with a wide-eyed wonder. She was fully prepared to lose him, but he managed to follow somehow.

“H-hey, wait! I’m Rev, what’s your name?” He jabbered. She mulled over it for a moment.

“Umm...Page.”

“Page.” He tried, “Huh, cool name! So, uh, will you think about it, coming back to our place so we can talk it over?”

She couldn’t force down another smile. “...I will. But please, I’d like to escape from the police, Rev.”

And she leaped once more, kicking off one of the skyscrapers and soaring onto another suspended street, higher up this time. Rev, again, miraculously followed. She stared. That wasn’t just roadrunner ability she was seeing. Something else was going on with him, those human-like legs couldn’t –

“Uhh, I might not be able to stop those guys from freaking out and taking you back!” He called. Well, a fast-forward version of a call, anyway.

...Talk to these...oddballs. His legs were just a blur behind him, now that she looked. “...All right.”

“But – wait.” He clearly hadn’t expected her to agree. His faces brightened up, “R-really? Wow, that’s great! Uh, I’ll, lead the way, shall I?”

She laughed. She couldn’t help it. Rev throws a thumps-up and turns, gesturing with a gloved hand for her to follow. Page shrugged and hopped after him, bare claws scraping mid-turn to change direction.

“My friends are gonna be fascinated, and all that, by the whole ‘past thing’.” He rambles, “What was 2016 like?”

... “Well...it was...something.” Her smile was a little off this time, but he doesn’t pick up on it.

She hoped these ‘friends’ knew what they were doing. She had little to no options here. Rev didn’t show any signs of ending the conversation, however, and resumed his chattering, “So, was Acmetropils way smaller, or less shiny? And what about ducks and stuff, did they –“

“From what I saw by those guys back there, some changes aren’t...too big.” She responded, trying to keep her voice level. Her worry would shine through eventually, wouldn’t it? Well, it wasn’t bad that they changed per say, if anything she was the abnormality...

That...

“It wasn’t called Acmetropolis.” She murmured. Rev’s head turned and he stared at her. Now he must have picked it up. “It was called Earth, and cities were just patchwork dotted around it. Where I was born, there weren’t any cities at all.”

“...Oh.” Rev’s chipper tone had faltered. She felt a pang of guilt at that, and smiled his way.

“Hey. Don’t worry. I know what would happen when I went into the ice.”

The speedster blinked. “O-oh.” He hastily tried to cover up that stammer with another question, “So...they called it ‘Earth’ all the way up to 2016?”

“Earth is what it’s been called for all eternity.” She responded, with a shrug. Trying to be lighter about it, she allowed another smile, “And no floating cars.”

His beak falls open, “Whoa...so how did you guys get around?”

She couldn’t help herself. She hopped up into the air mid-run, legs together, and uttered the signature ‘roadrunner’ sound. No, not the ‘beep beep’. That was reserved for...someone else.

Rev stared, then almost doubled over from laughter, “Wow! I guess I had that one coming! But I mean, what about other people, how’d they get around?”

“Wheels.”

“On the cars?”

“Yipper.”

“Whoa...”

Wait until she told him about paper. And video cassettes, courtesy of her own childhood.