fido1.JPG (22854 bytes)            As L. Bob Rife watches the brutal battle between Raven and Uncle Enzo rage onward, he realizes time is of the essence.

            "He would like to get out of here before the rest of the Mafia and Ng and Mr. Lee and all those other assholes come after him with their heat-seeking missles...He gives a thumbs up to the pilot and begins climbing the steps into his private jet.

            "It's daytime. A wall of billowing orange flame grows up silently from the tank farm a mile away, like a time-lapse chrysanthemum. It is so vast and complicated in its blooming, uncontrolled growth that Rife stops halfway up the stairs to watch.

            "A powerful disturbance is moving through the flame, leaving a linear trail in the light, like a cosmic ray fired through a cloud chamber...a black bulletlike thing supported on four legs that are churning too fast to be visible. It is so small and so fast that L. Bob Rife would not be able to see it, if it were not headed directly for him...

            "It gathers its four legs under it, leaps a hundred feet over the chain link fence that separates the fuel installation from the airport proper, and then it settles into a long, steady, powerful lope, accelerating across the perfect geometric plane of the runway, chased by a long tongue of flame that extends lazily from the middle of the conflagration, whorling inward upon itself as it traces the currents in that Rat Thing's aftershock.

            "Something tells L. Bob Rife to get away from the jet, which is loaded with fuel...(But) it's not headed for the jet, it's headed for him. Rife changes his mind and runs up the stairway, taking the steps three at atime...The pilot...punches the throttles, nearly throwing the jet onto one wing as it whips around in a tight curve, and redlines the engines as soon as he sees the center of the runway.

            "Y.T. is the only person who can see it happen. Having easily penetrated airport security with her Kourier pass, she is coasting onto the apron near the cargo terminal. From here, she has an excellent view... bang.JPG (44311 bytes)

            "The plane roars down the runway, hauling its door closed as it goes, shooting pale blue flames out its engine nozzles, trying to build up speed for a takeoff, and Fido chases it down like a dog going after a mailman, makes one final tremendous leap into the air, and, turning himself into a Sidewinder missile, flies nose-first into the tailpipe of its left engine.

            "The jet explodes about ten feet off the ground, catching Fido and L. Bob Rife and his virus all together in its fine, sterilizing flame."

            Faithful to the end, Fido has served his purpose well. Half animal, half machine, all heart.