Escape works, but you need room to escape as it were.
I do escape all the time. Necessary: - Athletics of at least 5 or 6. - AP of at least 9/turn - Stealth of at least 2-3.
you usually need at least a good 15-20 spaces between your char and the nearest bad guy to effectively escape, at least with the setup shown above. And depends on difficulty. If you're next to a guy, no way you're getting away.
Athletics 5-6 (or more) after the 2nd movement point (light green in movement area) all the dark green is 3ap PERIOD. so with 9 ap, you can run 18 spaces. outside of the vokked hounds and the higher level yakuza guys, or the mid-higher level corp guys, 9 ap is almost always more than they have (even more than vokked) and the athletics will be more than anyone has, which means you will seriously distance yourself from anything chasing you.
The main thing to be careful of is not getting stuck along one of the thin-paths that goes around the oustide of some Mars walls and can trap you in.
I almost quit the game because of this. But I switched to mars and started doing courier work. I occasionally still get my ass kicked, and might as well not be an escape option. It never works.
We have a second generation job system design sketched out for CK that will answer a lot of the issues we have with it right now (scaling difficulty, being realistic about destinations, etc). It is definitely one of the main items that causes people to walk away from CK, so sorry that you had the same experience.
This is now fixed -- in the next release, Cava Saint will pick up his ladder one step earlier and you will be able to get King's V-Chip. Also, your Fennian Rep will be normalized to 20, and your Los V and Streets set to 0.