Josef Samuelson coughed a wracking cough as he slowly walked to the luxury parking garage on Fifth Avenue on the northern edge of Manhattan in New Philadelphia, nervously looking behind and above him. The smog was so thick he needed his sun visors just to be able to open his eyes without them burning. And burning was what his lungs were doing. I had better get out of this mess, he thought as he plunged through the door. It closed behind him with a cool whoosh and a hum as the air purifier sucked the pollution out of the air. Gods, do I hope the damned air car has enough fuel for this, he prayed, they are far too close to catching me again.
"Thick day out there, huh?" a friendly voice asked.
Josef started and looked up to see the smiling face of the overweight monitor operator. "Yeah, I'm glad I won't have to breathe it much longer," he agreed with a slight, secret smile.
"Lucky you, my car's purifier is busted," the portly man said with a grimace, not completely understanding Josef's comment.
Josef smiled again, stepped into the elevator, and punched the seventy-fifth floor. His lean frame slumped against the rear of the car and he looked at his drawn face in the reflective surface of the elevator walls, sighing. Too little sleep since this latest visit to the Paranormal Monitor Unit I was hauled to, he thought wearily. Dark bags hung below ice blue eyes rimmed in raw redness. His platinum blonde hair was disheveled and his usually handsomely chiseled features looked like those of an ice-preserved Neanderthal Man he had once seen in his homeland's National Museum. A rueful smile tugged at his lips and he shook his head, glancing up at the floor number flashing past fifty-five.
Josef stretched and he heard his back crack and his shoulders pop from being crammed into an uncomfortable chair for forty-seven hours of interrogation by a group intent on keeping psychic phenomenon controlled and working for the government. And although they did not acknowledge magic's existence, they would not be above giving it a new name and using it for their own ends. Paranormal Monitor Unit indeed!
The elevator stopped and the doors opened up on the brown carpeted floors and cream colored walls of the seventy-fifth floor. Josef took out his key and walked up to the second door on the right. He had just gotten the brown door open when another of the elevators announced its imminent arrival to the floor. Josef looked at the video monitor over the elevator's door and saw the car crammed with the red and black uniforms of the Paranormal Apprehension Squad. Before the elevator door opened, Josef was into the private garage and slamming the door shut. He threw the bolt and keyed every lock the place had as well as the added security system he had put in himself.
Hoping against hope that the locks and security system would keep the mind cops busy for a few seconds, Josef ran to his air car and jumped in. Keying the pass code for the door to the outside, he readied the engine.
"Shit! Shit, shit, shit, shit! SHIT!" he roared as he saw several PAS armored air cars hovering in front of his garage door, weapons bared and looking extremely ready. "I was hoping not to have to do this, damn you!"
"Josef Samuelson, we have you surrounded. Turn your engine off and exit the vehicle with your hands in the air. Officers will arrive shortly to apprehend you for violations of the Federated States of the Americas' Paranormal Registration Acts of 2298, 2301, and 2311 as well as the Paranormal Practices Prohibition Amendments of 2333 and 2341. Should you attempt to escape or use any of the restricted abilities you are suspected of possessing, you will be fired upon immediately. We thank you for your cooperation," an authoritative voice said pompously on a loud speaker as the PAS cars slowly circled in their hovering maneuvers.
"Cooperate? I think not," Josef muttered as he began to recite a teleportation spell. With a final grunt, he and his air car were hovering a hundred meters behind the PAS vehicles.
Josef gunned his car's engines and he sped away from the Midtown Garage towards Central Park just as the PAS unit broke through the garage door's locks. The PAS cars immediately joined the hunt, speeding after him through the hazy gray skies above the great North American megalopolis. Not bothering to dodge the concussive blasts the PAS vehicles were firing at him, Josef concentrated on a spell his great grandfather taught him years ago as a very young apprentice. His air car was slowly arcing downward, smoking and on fire, when he completed the spell and the teleportation vortex opened right in front of his car.