Himir was under the bed, covering Bastion as best he could while the walls shuddered in tandem with the booms and rumbles of the attacks. It had been going on for only a short time, listening to the alarms from beyond the cell door, in addition to faintly yelling voices of the bases crew. He whispered reassurances to his younger brother, keeping his voice calm for him and letting him know it would all turn out alright
His mind raced with the outcomes that could take place. Whether they were being attacked by another group of scavengers, or if the UEC was bombarding as their usual lack of tact was want to do, their survival was not looking all that positive. Himir patted the back of Bastion's head as he held him close, not about to let a wayward piece of shrapnel take his brother after nine years of Hell.
Rem had apparently given up entirely on acquiring Bastion some years ago, practically ignoring them, sparing a glance at Himir, or simply nodding an acknowledgement to the child. Only five months were left should they not die there, and it was his goal to see through to that day lest his ordeals were in vain.
The lights were suddenly extinguished and a series of small clicks along with the sound of pressure being relieved came from the direction of the cell door. After a few moments hesitation, Himir carefully crawled out from under the bed, telling Bastion to stay put while he investigated, taking a long pipe with him.
With a steady hand, Himir eased the door open a little, having to feel it open with his other hand since the outside was just as dark as the room. Slowly, he opened it just enough to poke his head through and try to look around, pulling it back in just as he saw the spread of a flash light creeping up the walls. He squinted as the hall began to get brighter, but just as the oval of light reached his door, one of the guards that had been small-talking amongst each other suddenly cried out.
What followed was the makings of a scuffle and some gunfire, bodies hitting the walls and yells of defiance. The scuffle quieted as it seemed there were fewer participants, then with a sickening crack of finality and a body slumping to the ground, everything was silent. It was several seconds before Himir dared poke his head out, only to find a silhouette and two glowing green lights turn towards him.
He was about to pull back when a familiar, withered voice spoke up, Himir? That you?
Denny? Ah, of course. The eyes. the young man stood up and faced the other slave, You are a man of your word...killed them with your bare hands... Himir looked down at the guards, Henrich and Julius, who had been there as long as he could remember, and Orten, who had been recruited only a few years ago, but was no less suppressive. Their forms were garish to look at in the dismal lighting, but Denny grabbed their weapons and put the straps around his neck.
I'm still holding out on getting to that quack that did this to me. These so-called 'cybernetic' eyes are itchy as hell, been driving me crazy for years. Denny stated as his fingers scratched along the rim of the implants, And the itch is always on the inside... the middle-aged man continued to complain while Himir grabbed one of the flash lights and went back in the room.
Come on, Bastion, we're going for a walk, maybe even a trip to see our future house. he knew his smile wasn't visible to his brother, but his tone was as caring, and misleading, as it always was. The nine-year old crawled out from under the bed, and wrapped his arms around Himir's waist just in time for as particularly strong shudder rumbled through the base.
H-Hello? Is someone there? the three of them turned and shined a light on a pale brown haired woman with sunken cheeks.
Stacy! Keep calm, it's Denny, Bastion and I. All the power must have gone out in this section, help us get everyone here. This is our chance. several rushed minutes of investigating and assurances, and the twenty-three of them were on their way. Were one to take a closer look at them all, only Himir and his brother were the only ones that didn't have any mechanical enhancements or replacements.
Peter, a collected man whose left arm was fully robotic after an accident with a faulty engine, and the decided leader of the group, led them to the closest armory. With the three guns among them, they managed to take the five guards by surprise and overwhelm them. From there, everyone was well equipped to fight their way through to the hangar where they could escape in one of the ships. Everyone, except Himir and Bastion.
Here, use it to protect your brother, but don't shoot to kill. Peter said as he handed Himir a pistol.
What?! But they've done nothing redeeming for us, why should I hold back?! the young man flipped the pistol about in his hand and held it up with a perfectly steady hand.
Because it's not in you. You've spent your life protecting Bastion, and taking one life will change that forever. So do not shoot, except to defend your brother and yourself. with that, the group moved on, Himir and Bastion at the back, while the others pressed forward.
There were a number of firefights, and though they lost six of their group, they finished more than twenty of the men and women that had treated them like dirt for all those years. Himir covered his brother's eyes when ever they crossed a dead body, trying to protect his mind as much as his body. Finally, their efforts were paid off when they reached the West loading bay, but they heard voices, and Peter had them lay low while he and handful of others spied on them carefully.
There was a loud struggling sound as something massive tried to break free of its bindings, Ohohoho! She's got quite the spirit, doesn't she? Sorry Snow White, but you're not moving. Not until your buddies back off. Rem's voice traveled easily in the large room, and was unmistakable to them.
Peter stuck his head out, scanning the area, It...It looks like all of them are... his eyes began to look up inside of the hangar. When someone asked what was wrong, he responded, They...They have something. Some...giant alien I've never even heard of. he swallowed hard.
Drake's newer metallic voice reached them, Come on, Rem, their fighting the UEC, why are they here?
Likely a mix-up. Seems their 'Intelligence' is anything but. Can barely tell apart our ships from those outdated bureaucrat's. I'd be insulted if it wasn't so amusing she was knocked out by one of our crafts. That's what happens when you try to sneak in through a hangar for ships. he said, speaking mockingly as though this 'giant alien' Peter saw was a child.
A very loud but easily feminine voice echoed through the hangar in a demanding tone. The accent was melodic and the language more foreign than anyone could fathom. More sounds of struggling and something large trying to move could be heard by them all.
This time, Edna spoke up, her stern voice amused by the massive creature's attempts, Certainly is a bossy little thing, isn't she? They've got really good hearing, right? Well let her listen to this. a few moments and some of them heard a faint ringing in their ears, but the loud female voice responded with pained grunts and cries, the bindings being pulled at relentlessly.
Peter turned to the ones with rifles motioning them over, Aim for Rem and the others. The alien might be intimidating, but she can't do anything while she's tied down like that. The selected firing team lined up, most of them gasping or hesitating when they saw what Peter was talking about.
The ringing stopped and Rem started to speak again, You see, my dear alarian guest, you are at our mercy now, and you will make quite a fine addition to our entertainment section. there was a loud inhale and a louder 'ptooie!', followed by several 'Ewww's.
Drake was chuckling, She gotcha, man. I don't think she wants to entertain us. he let out a snickering laugh.
Rem huffed, Seems our two people are more alike than those xenophobic stiffs care to admit. Pity, she was kind of cute. In a science-fiction sort of way. Kill her.
At that moment, Peter and the other eight gunmen and women of their group opened fire and charged on Rem and his command crew. There were confused cries and the sounds of scattering, but soon the gunfire stopped, and all that could be heard was the shifting of the 'giant alien' and its rapid breathing.
Come on! Follow us. Peter called back to the remaining group. Everyone stopped at the entrance, and Himir and Bastion joined when they caught up. It was an enormous humanoid with blue skin, long white hair, long pointed ears, and almost crimson eyes that were wide with shock, darting between each of them, and just above her left eye was a bad looking whelp where something hit her in the head. She was held down in a kneeling position as her arms and legs had magnetic ship anchors around them, and they seemed more than strong enough to keep her there.
What the hell is that?! someone cried out, pulling up his weapon, which led to several others doing the same. Peter quickly came back and managed to calm them enough to lower their weapons, telling them they had more important matters than an alien. From there, the group mostly left for one of the warp-capable cargo ships.
Himir walked slowly, hesitantly stopping before Rem's body. The man was evil, manipulative, merciless, and all sorts of other awful things, but no matter how much he had hated Rem for those nine years, even though he'd always talk about the man's death, he didn't know what to feel about this at all. He simply stared at the lifeless body of the man named Rem, for whom he had some twisted sense of respect towards...and thinking on the more recent years, had almost become something akin to the concept of a father. The thought was so sickening Himir gagged and turned away.
She's pretty, his brother's voice chimed. He spun around and saw Bastion taking slow and careful steps towards the giant's knee.
Bastion, no! Himir darted to him and pulled him back, You don't know what she'll do to you, he looked up and caught her gaze. The surprise had left her face, rather replaced by intrigue, and something else. She eyed him, her eyes following something, and based on how he moved, he found she was looking at his long brown hair that nearly reached past his back.
Himir slowly backed them away, keeping their gazes locked. She made no motions to escape, maybe to assure them she had no ill intentions towards them? Though the further they moved, the more somber her expression became.
She looks sad, Himir...we should free her. Bastion suggested cheerily.
Himir on the other hand, winced, No, if what Rem said is true, there's more of her kind around, he swallowed hard at that thought, They'll...they'll get her out when they find her, though she was tied down he couldn't help but fear her presence, his hands shaking some.
Come on, Himir, she looks nice. I bet she wouldn't hurt a fly. he smiled up to the large blue female, waving at her in a friendly manner. She responded at first with surprise, then softened her expression and returned a kind, if somewhat anxious smile, See! She's nice! You have to help her, brother! Bastion shook Himir gently by the shirt in excitement before making to dart to the nearest cable.
He was caught by his older brother before he got too far. Himir looked up to the alien and took a deep breath, not sure why he was letting his brother talk him into this. He pointed to himself then at the cables, If I take those off, he pointed to her then sternly at the ground under her, Will you stay there, he pointed to the ship everyone else had been boarding then to the closed hangar doors, until that ship leaves?
She watched him for minute, trying to figure it out what he meant. It must have caught on, because she looked to him pointedly and spoke while tilted her head to a tied hand, tugging it some to get make sure the inference was correct, then shifted her position from a kneel to be on her bottom, and moved her hands behind her back as best she could.
Still uncertain and frightened beyond compare, Himir dashed over to the first cable holding one of her legs, disengaging it and awaiting her reaction. She didn't move other than pulling in her leg, so he tended to the cable around her other leg, and again she made no greater movement, relatively speaking. He tended to the other cables holding her hands, and when the last one was released, he was stock still, ready to move should she try anything, but she stayed still as she had implied.
Himir ran back over to Bastion and started to move quickly towards the cargo ship and climbed the scaffolding to make their way across. There was a loud explosion from beyond the hangar doors and the whole place shook, causing the brothers to lose their footing. Himir was holding on to Bastion, but the child slipped under the insufficient railing while the older brother held on to the younger with one and a rail with the other. He was able to pull him back up from the two-story drop, but also made note that the alien had reacted to their situation, as though to try and catch them had they fell. Had she really intended to save them? Or was she simply being opportunistic?
There was little time to think about it as the others were calling to him to get inside. With one last look to the alien, he dragged Bastion with him into the ship, getting an earful from some of the others about what she might try. Once everything was under way, they signaled for the doors to open.
It was maybe a quarter-way open when a missile suddenly slipped past and hit a parked scout ship. The crew panicked, the gunners adjusting the hobbled and lopsided turrets towards the entrance. One of them called out, The alien's making for the exit! Himir looked over to one of the exterior views, watching as she waved her arms at someone beyond the doors. She slipped past them and out of sight, getting everyone on edge at what to expect.
The ship pushed forward as the doors slid open, revealing a downpour outside, in addition to five giants, including the one Himir had just freed, waiting beyond the exit. She seemed to be talking to them, getting them to stand back and out of the ships way as it cleared the hangar. There were some tense moments as they flew into the red-tinted storm clouds, half expecting to be shot down since they weren't cleared for take off, but being under attack and with Rem and the other leaders dead, the entire base must have been in utter chaos.
At last they cleared the atmosphere, but they still weren't truly free, just all on one big target. Peter grabbed every one's attention, looking to each of them, We're going to UEC space, but do not expect a warm welcome. We'll send out distress signals and have all channels open to hail any nearby vessels, he looked around again, What Rem said, those giants fighting the UEC, we don't know anything. We didn't see them, we never even heard of them. The power went out and we took our chances. That is our story, no aliens, no attack, just lucky.
Once their jump was underway, while everyone else ran with details about matching stories, Himir had his arms around Bastion, holding him dearly. The day had come when they were both free and the elder of the two couldn't help but cry onto his brother's shoulder. Nine years of fighting, working, and giving up everything he could and they were finally rid of those people, able to live their lives for themselves, and maybe one day, have a home.
Bastion hugged his brother back, speaking to him comfortingly, It's okay, Himir, we can visit Rem sometimes if you miss him, a statement that turned a number of heads in either dismay or regret at the child's lack of understanding.
Himir was silent aside from his relieved breathing, still holding his brother close, ...huh...hehe...huhaha...haahahaha! Ahahahahaha! Himir couldn't stop from laughing. He fell back and patted Bastion on the shoulder, shaking his head and absolutely rolling with laughter. Tears began to roll down his face while everyone looked at him as though he'd snapped.
The others merely watched, but as they did, one of them chuckled some, then soon followed Himir's lead, bursting into uncontrollable laughter. Only minutes later and all seventeen of the survivors were laughing loudly and celebrating amongst one another, all of them so lost in their mirth that no-one was worried about their fate, of what would become of them. If only for those fleeting moments, whether or not they survived after the jump, they were free.