~~Jump to Part 10~~
~Part 11: Reunion
Karrin leapt towards Marki as his finger pushed the trigger all the way back. She collided into his shoulder just as a burst of green energy shot forth from the laser pistol. The beam from the gun streaked towards Jeromee, but Karrin’s interference caused the ray’s path to alter just enough to only clip Jeromee in the shoulder rather than pierce him in the heart.
Jeromee clutched instinctively at his injured shoulder and fell back against the wall. I rushed at Marki, hoping to disarm him before he could fire again. He shoved Karrin away and brought his handgun to arm’s length one more time; the end was now pointing my way.
I dodged forward towards his body just before he squeezed the trigger. The beam shot harmlessly above my back as I collided with Marki and rammed him into the wall. I heard the breath leave his lungs as his back pounded the steel plating of the hallway. This set him back for only a second, but that was all I needed. My hand shot towards his weapon hand. I grabbed the pistol from him and backed away swiftly, trying to put enough distance between us so that I could shoot him.
Marki quickly jumped towards me and punched my forearm just as I brought the pistol up to shoot at him. A loud clack
rebounded through the hallway as the gun bounced across the floor. Le’Fleu now threw a punch at me, immediately putting me on the defensive. Both of us forgot about the gun as we embraced in a series of punches. Marki soon had me pinned against the wall. I was tiring and could not expect to hold on much longer.
His face suddenly contorted in pain and he fell to the floor, scrabbling at his back in agony. Standing in front of me was Karrin, the pistol in her trembling hands. She looked weak and confused.
“Give me the gun,” I said as calmly as I could. She slowly walked towards me and placed the pistol in my hand. It was still warm from the last shot. I turned towards le’Fleu with the gun now in my hand; he was still writhing on the floor with a round burn mark emblazoned on his back. The energy beam from the gun had penetrated his clothing and burned through the top layers of skin. I stood over him, debating whether or not to kill him.
“Don’t,” I heard Jeromee weakly say. Crap! I forgot about Jeromee!
If Marki was this badly hurt, I hated to think about Jeromee’s state. I slammed the base of the pistol into the back of Marki’s head, threw down the pistol, and rushed over to Jeromee. He was slumped up against the wall with his eyes half closed. The seared mark on his shoulder resembled Marki’s, but it didn’t look fatal.
“Are you alright?” I demanded.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. It’ll take more than one shot to bring me down,” he replied.
“What a horrible dodge,” I teased. “Looks like being cooped up on this station has made you slow.”
“Hey, you shouldn’t mock the guy that’s saving your sorry ass.”
“It looks like Karrin’s the one saving us, not you.” I suddenly realized that I had yet to tell Karrin that Jeromee was on our side. I began to warn her so that there would be no misunderstanding. “Oh yeah, Karrin, I’d like you to meet an old friend of mine. He’s—” I stopped talking as I turned around to face Karrin and saw the gun in her hand once more. It was pointing at Jeromee.
“Karrin,” I said tentatively, “he’s on our side. I can explain all of this later, but you have to trust me. He’s our only way out.”
“It’s a trap,” Karrin replied. “He’s just playing with us. I should just shoot him! Kill him and le’Fleu. Kill them both for what they’ve done.”
“Karrin, please, trust me. You’re not thinking straight right now. This is our only way out, and I need you to trust me if you want to get out of here alive.” Her hands trembled, but she kept the gun aimed at Jeromee. I could tell she wanted to shoot him, but her reason was still fighting against her instincts.
“Karrin, give me the gun,” I repeated. I held out my hand and slowly walked towards her. I got my first good look at her in weeks as I drew closer; her body was thin, her face haggard, her eyes so, so dull with pain and regret.
I closed the last few steps and tentatively placed my hand on hers. She started at the contact between our hands, as if she did not believe I was real. Tears began to streak down her face as her hand slowly relaxed and released the gun into my hand. I wrapped my arms around Karrin and embraced her in a fierce hug.
“I thought you were dead,” she cried softly into my chest. “le’Fleu showed me videos of you in the torture room. I thought he had killed you. I was so scared and alone. I… I…” Karrin’s voice trailed off into a series of sobs.
“I’m sorry, Karrin,” I whispered. “I never meant for any of this to happen.” I pushed her out to arm’s length so that I could look her in the eyes. “Karrin, we have to work quickly. Jeromee is on our side now and he has a plan to get us out. Le’Fleu threw a few kinks into the plan, but it should still work. Do you trust me?” She nodded feebly after a couple seconds. I smiled at her, hoping my gesture would offer some comfort. I hugged her briefly one more time.
“This is touching, guys, but we have two knocked out guards, a wounded and unconscious lieutenant, and my shoulder is killing me! You two can hug it out later or whatever it is you feel like doing after
we’ve escaped.” I smiled at his remark and turned around to answer him.
“You’re right,” I replied. “We need to hide these guards. Quick.”
“There’s a storage room just at the end of the hall. Help me up.” I released Karrin and helped Jeromee back to his feet. I then handed him the gun and turned towards the unconscious guards. In our weakened state, in took both mine and Karrin’s combined strength to drag a guard down the hall towards the storage room. We moved as quickly as we could and soon had the first body down the hall. I swiped Jeromee’s card in front of the wall panel and pushed the body inside the room. It was pretty large for a storage room—about the same size as the first containment cell I was in.
As we moved back down the hall, we noticed Jeromee bending over Marki’s body; he was searching his boss with his good arm. As we drew closer, Jeromee turned around with a smile and held up Marki’s identification card.
“This will help us a lot,” he grinned. Jeromee then took the belt of le’Fleu and clasped it around his own waist. He slipped the laser pistol into its holster and began dragging le’Fleu’s body towards the storage room. Karrin and I grabbed the body of the other guard and followed Jeromee. A thought occurred to me as I placed the second guard into the room. I nudged Jeromee and told him my idea.
“Jeromee, now that we have another guard, why don’t we use his uniform to dress Karrin up as a guard too? It’ll be easier to bypass other patrols if we all look like guards.”
“You might be on to something…” he replied, “but you two looked so haggard. Marki was never that hospitable, but he made sure his guards were fresh and healthy.”
“You can just say it’s part of our initiation,” Karrin chimed in. She still seemed extremely tired, but it seems she was regaining her wits.
“A great idea,” I agreed.
“Fine, but be prepared to fight if this doesn’t work,” Jeromee answered. Karrin entered the storage room to trade clothes with the other guard while Jeromee and I stood watch outside. Things were finally coming together. It would soon be time to begin our escape.
The silence began to seem a little awkward as we waited for Karrin. What do you say to your supposedly dead friend, who turned enemy, who turned friend again and is now saving your life?
I wondered. I turned to Jeromee and punched him in his shoulder. I realized too late that it was his injured one.
“Ow! What the hell was that for?” I looked at him and smiled.
“Thanks, man,” I said.
“We’re not through yet,” he said sourly.
“I know, but thanks for giving me back my life. At least I was able to hit Marki one more time before I died. You really saved me.” My vision became a little blurry as emotion hit me. Oh crap, I better not cry.
“Aw man, you’re not gonna cry on me, are you?” Jeromee must have noticed me tearing up. I brought my hand up to my face and wiped my eyes quickly.
“No way! Your horrible b.o. is making my eyes water,” I shot back. “When’s the last time you washed anyway?”
“Haha, yeah right. If anyone could use a shower it’s you. I almost passed out when I entered your cell.” He punched me and began laughing. I smiled back and leaned up against the wall.
“What a team we make,” I mused. “What a team…”
~End of Part 11