Part 8, for your enjoyment.
Sentience Part 1
Sentience Part 2
Sentience Part 3
Sentience Part 4
Sentience Part 5
Sentience Part 6
Sentience Part 7
He thought it must have been afternoon when Marie sat up from the couch, looking dazed.
He hesitated for a moment. "How are you feeling?"
"Horrible," she said, then focused on a clock. "Oh no. I gotta go." She stood, slowly, leaning on the couch. "I gotta get off world yesterday."
"Where do you need me to take you?"
She looked harried for a moment. "Look, if we can just get to your car, I'll put the address down. Let's just go.
A whistle rang out, and an explosion shook the building. Marie sat down hard on the couch again, and Macon ran to his bedroom.
The wall was damaged. He ran to the window, yanked it open,and looked out.
The apartment next door was damaged, or gone, probably. He rushed back into the living room.
"Are your neighbors...?" Marie stopped, swallowiing hard. She looked sick.
He let out a bitter laugh. "Don't have any on either side. I wouldn't be living here if I did. They're aiming for us." He grabbed a backpack and his tablet and ran to Marie. She stood.
"I'm fine," she snapped. "Let's go."
He grabbed her hand anyway and yanked her out the door of his apartment and forward down the hall to the stairwell. Parts of the flooring were blown apart. The inhabitants of the rest of the floor were rushing out too. Someone was screaming. A stench in the air turned his stomach, and he refused to think about its source.
Other parts of the building were on fire, and the crush of people trying to get out if they could was overwhelming. Finally, they made it into the free air. Ambulances, a few news vans, and scores of citizens stared upward at the building.
Macon stopped for just a moment. Too many people. If they ran, they'd be seen, but if they didn't leave right now, he knew what would happen.
He took off to the right, yanking the woman after him. She ran without comment, following him to the parking garage. No use staying around and playing innocent.
Rising panic made his heart pound, and the moments passed in a blur. Door open, buckle the seat belt, ignition, back out.
He was on the road now. He looked over at Marie. Her face was white. He pushed the accelerator gently, wishing it would do as much good as he wanted. He missed the tug and pull of friction on tires. He indulged in a moment of remembering a far away time, when he'd driven a classic, back at home.
They drove on.